Greece in crisis as country forced to bring in six-day week to get residents to work

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul2,2024

Greece is in crisis as one city has been forced to bring in a six-day week to get residents back to work.

As other European countries are trialling four-day work weeks, Athens officials have declared that Greeks need to work more hours.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is concerned over a “ticking time bomb”, a demographic shift that has seen about half a million skilled Greek workers emigrate since the country’s debt crisis in 2009. 

Greece already has the longest five-day working hours in Europe, at an average of 41 hours a week. 

The government is hoping that the six-day week will spark more economic growth and productivity to avoid the problem of a shrinking population and skilled labour shortage.

Mitsotakis said that “the core of this legislation is worker-friendly, deeply growth-oriented” and “it brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe”.

But not all are in favour of the plans. Critics say it is harmful to workers’ rights, enabling businesses to demand employees work more days without repercussion.

Akis Sotiropoulos, an executive committee member of the civil servants’ union Adedy, told the Guardian: “It makes no sense whatsoever. When almost every other civilised country is enacting a four-day week, Greece decides to go the other way.

“In reality, this has been passed by a government ideologically committed to generating ever bigger profits for capital,’ said union committee member Sotiropoulos.

“Better productivity comes with better work conditions and a better quality of life for employees. We now know this means fewer hours, not more.”

The scheme, which took effect yesterday, will not apply to all Greek workers, it will be limited to private businesses offering round-the-clock services.

Employees in certain industries and manufacturing sectors will be able to choose to work an extra two hours a day or take on an additional eight-hour shift.

They will also earn a 40 percent bonus on their daily wage – a move that the Conservative government says solves the problem of unpaid overtime and combats the widespread issue of undeclared work.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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