Jan. 4 - As Greece's government aims to make the country more competitive and boost its struggling economy, private sector representatives say they oppose proposed changes like reducing the minimum wage or cutting bonuses.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos hosts a meeting at his office with business federations and unions. He's considering changing workers' contracts, reducing the minimum wage and cutting bonuses to make the country more competitive and boost its ailing economy. But afterwards, the President of the General Confederation of Greek workers said he wasn't in favour of the changes. SOUNDBITE: President of the General Confederation of Greek workers (GSEE), Yannis Panagopoulos, saying (Greek): "Regarding the national collective labour contract and the minimum wage of the poor worker, we say we are not willing to take a single step back." The Greek private sector hasn't been touched so far by the government's austerity measures. But workers have lost their jobs and businesses have closed down as the recession has caused Greek consumers to tighten their belts. Industrial action has become part of daily life - these steel workers have been on strike for more than two months. Greece's international lenders, Europe, the IMF and the ECB, have told Greece to become more competitive by making wages more flexible. The troika will be reviewing Greece's economic progress in Athens in mid-January. The Greek government has said the next three months are crucial - and has warned Greece risks leaving the euro if it fails to secure a deal on its second bailout with its lenders. Joanna Partridge, Reuters