Greeks rally against labor reforms, as talks with creditors set to begin this week

Updated: 2016-10-18 10:59


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Greeks rally against labor reforms, as talks with creditors set to begin this week

People demonstrate outside parliament as Greek labour unions staged a protest over wages, pension and labour agreements in Athens, Greece, October 17, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS -- A total of 7,000 people gathered in central Athens on Monday to rally in front of the parliament in protest of austerity and labor reforms, as a fresh round of talks with the country's international lenders are set to begin this week over the second review of the rescue program for Greece.

Workers carrying union flags, banners and chanting "Do not compromise with poverty" joined the protest, which was called by the Greek Communist party's trade union PAME. Similar rallies were scheduled in many cities nationwide.

Participants opposed to the planned changes to labor laws demanded the collective bargaining for salaries to be restored.

Among their main demands was the restoration of the monthly minimum wage to 751 euros and increases in pensions and social benefits that have been cut over the last years of recession.

As debt-wrecked Greece has entered the seventh year of deep recession, more than a third of the population was facing the risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to the latest figures released by Eurostat.

Greece and its international creditors have negotiated for months to agree on reforms that would allow the debt-laden country to continue receiving bailout aid.

A new round of talks will start this week between the Greek government and representatives of the country's international creditors.

Discussion on labor issues, including the terms for mass layoffs and collective bargaining for salaries, privatizations and taxation are among the key issues to be discussed.

According to government officials, its intention is the second review to have been completed until the end of November so that decisions on the debt issue are taken in the Dec. 5 Eurogroup meeting.

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