Greek lawmakers approved late on Wednesday a labour reform bill that allows employees to opt for a longer working day in exchange for time off, a measure that has sparked strikes and protests by labour unions.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government, which has a comfortable parliamentary majority, aims to overhaul laws dating back decades to a pre-internet age when most workers clocked into offices and factories at the same set hours.
“The nucleus of this legislation is worker-friendly, it is deeply growth-oriented,” Mitsotakis said during a parliamentary debate, dismissing claims by the political opposition that his government was putting an end to the eight-hour working day.
The bill passed by 158 votes in the 300-seat parliament after lengthy debate in which all opposition parties blasted it.
The unions have described the bill as a “monstrosity” and had pressed the government to withdraw it, saying it would reverse long-established workers’ rights and allow companies to bring in longer hours through the back door.