GSEE POSITIONS ON UNDECLARED AND UNDERDECLARED WORK
The GSEE has published its positions on tackling undeclared and under-declared work emphasizing that:
— Tackling undeclared work has always been and continues to be, in principle, a question of clear and targeted political will whose key aspect is the permanent dialogue with GSEE within a stable institutional framework, with a view to establishing and monitoring, in terms of their effectiveness, the actions to deal with non –compliance and combat deliquency in the labour market.
— The lack of targeted political will results to the accuracy of the real extent of undeclared work in the official statistics. This holds true also for underdeclared work, which, with the State’s tolerance, tends to be the rule leading to extensive social contribution and tax evasion. At the same time, certain sectors, such as agriculture, are protected, as being inaccessible to the control mechanisms and inspections.
— Unfortunately, this arbitrary situation in the labour market has become indeed a “regularity” taking into account the ineffective and inefficient control mechanisms, despite the best efforts of their personnel to perform their difficult tasks under conditions of understaffing and lack of the necessary infrastructure.
— The extensive deregulation undertaken in the protection framework of labour legislation, in the context of the country’s bailout memoranda, both at individual and collective level, have led to the increase of employers’ abusive behaviour with a dramatic impact on workers’ pay and employment conditions.
— The final blow to workers’ protection is expected to come by the new round of interventions in crucial issues of concern, such as collective dismissals and the framework of collective agreements alongside the fierce attack against the core, the “heart” of the free trade union action and the workers’ collective representation, such as changes in the trade union law as well as changes affecting the right to strike, which the Greek government is committed to implement, under the conditionality of the 3rd Memorandum, without reinstating the institutional framework existing before the bailout agreements.
— We reject any additional direct or indirect support for flexible forms of work and we stand firmly opposed to the lack of precision in identifying sectors and extending labour stamps’ system without any safeguards given that the model to tackle undeclared work should explicitly be that of full-time stable employment.
— An important step forward in tacking undeclared work and, more general, the infringements in the labour market, is the immediate restoration of the collective agreements framework, of the National General Collective Agreement and the extension of the binding force of the sectoral/occupational collective agreements as well as the abolition of the provisions, under the Memoranda, to promote flexibility and precariousness in individual contracts and jobs.
All the above mentioned have been presented by the GSEE President and General Secretary in the tripartite meeting on undeclared work that took place on 6 July under the auspices of ILO.
Please find below the main framework of GSEE positions/recommendations on combating undeclared and underdeclared work.
GSEE PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE
COMBATING UNDERCLARED AND UNDERDECLARED WORK FRAMEWORK OF GSEE’s MAIN PROPOSALS
1. Strengthening and upgrading of the Labour Inspectorate across the country at the level of human and material resources, in order to safeguard its independence and effectiveness; Setting up of a special team of Social and Technical Inspectors with immediate controls capacity; Utilization of the technical assistance by the International Labour Organization, under the provisions and guarantees of C81, Labour Inspection Convention, (1947), as well as of C129 Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention (1969), which needs to be ratified by Greece.
2. Staffing of the Labour Inspectorate with additional administrative personnel in order to relieve the Social and Technical Inspectors from the red tape work and be able to perform their auditing unobstructed; Reinforcement of mixed audit teams.
3. Connecting all public Information Systems (databases) of all co-competent public services and Ministries that should interoperate because they include sufficient data to assist the control on any breaches in the labour market (e.g Ministry of Labour, SEPE, IKA, Ministry of Finance-Revenue Services, Ministry of Development-General Trade Registry (GEMI) etc); Access of workers and their representatives to information systems data regarding employment and social security.
4. Immediate mapping of inspection mechanisms and competent ministerial services that have common competency in order to avoid incomplete or non existent audits (e.g inspection authorities of Ministry of Labour and Ministry Education, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Development etc); Ensuring effective cooperation between audit mechanisms sharing the same competence and monitoring their work. This can be achieved only through legislation and the required regulatory actions.
5. Instituting and provision of workers’ participation in IKA audits; Reinforcement of workers’ participation during the audits by the Labour Inspectorate, with the possibility of a representative’s presence also on behalf of a competent second- degree Federation; Exploring the possibility of establishing collective bodies for labour dispute resolution with tripartite representation before the Labour Inspectorate, in the model of the Local Administrative Committees of IKA.
6. Identification of the existing problems within the Information Systems, such as ERGANI and modification of the relevant provisions that evidently lead to delinquent behaviours, such as e.g
– the employer’s possibility to announce electronically worker’s resignation, without the obligation by the employer to submit a signed resignation,
– issues arising from keeping a Record of Daily Employed Personnel Bulletins in Construction Projects
7. Assessment (separate and joint) of the systems of fines and sanctions regarding the breaches of labour and social security law and taking of measures to make labour protection more effective. Exploring parallel or alternative means and ways of employers’ compliance with the statutory and actual employment needs in their enterprises, such as the employment obligation (and subsequently insurance obligation) of the undeclared employee in the appropriate specialty and for a specific period of time, without redundancy possibility.
It is underlined that one element related to controls’ effectiveness is the possibility to impose sanctions, proportional to the breach but also dissuassive ones. The possibility of imposing sanctions intends to make possible the carrying out of controls on employers, discouraging behaviours that would cancel them.
Offering incentives to employers (e.g tax incentives, White List etc) is independent from the consistent and cohesive operation of the inspection mechanism and the sanctions system of delinquent behaviours.
8. Revision of the labour card effectiveness, on the basis both of technological developments and possibilities and of employees’ personal data protection. No sanction should be imposed on workers upon verification of a breach by the employer.
9. Parametric changes in labour law provisions (individual or collective labour law) that contribute to enhancing the phenomenon of undeclared or underdeclared work, such as,
– restore and ensure collective autonomy, free collective negotiations and collective bargaining agreements
– restore on a solid basis the pillars of the collective labour law on the principle of favourable treatment, the extension of sectoral and professional collective agreements and the after effect of all their terms in order to effectively stave off the scourge of individual agreements and enterprise collective agreements with least favourable terms than the sectoral collective bargaining agreements
– repeal provisions that differentiate remuneration on the basis of age5 – Equal payroll and social security coverage for young employees
– restore the surcharges on grounds of working and professional experience and equal treatment of all employees – repeal of provisions that differentiate the minimum levels of remuneration of long term unemployed who are recruited as employees
– repeal of the provision that abolished the remuneration increase of part time employees, in case it is requested of them to work beyond their reduced working hours
– modify the provisions for work contracts or independent services contracts that conceal a dependent labour; strengthen the benefit in favour of dependent labour
– restore the five-day working week in the commercial stores and repeal of the possibility of a split working day in a store with continuous working hours
– activate and monitor the implementation of the provision regarding the obligation to deposit employees’ earnings in a Bank
-more rigorous provisions on apprenticeship and in-service training of employees-establishment of an upper allowed employment limit for apprentices or in-service trainees related to the regular personnel and specialties that a business should have.
10. Reinforcement of a framework of professional qualifications (specialties) based on the type of enterprise and the activity sector, combined with the already existing obligatory professional qualifications in terms of social security contributions in IKA- ETAM, as well as the existing accredited occupational profiles, being the product of agreement between workers and employers. The need for a substantial participation of the Labour Ministry in the technical professions licensing was also discussed.
11. Institutionalization of a minimum personnel synthesis and similar objective control criteria, depending on the activity sector, in the model of construction works; institutionalization of a relevant burden of proof for the employers for the effectiveness of the measure and its monitoring.
12. Establishment of special objective criteria to deal with undeclared personnel in some specialties, such as courier service with high rates of undeclared work in many sectors of activity (from commercial and food establishments and postal services, up to transfer of biological material to the laboratories etc).
13. Strict prohibition of contracting assignments for work provision necessary for a business’s operation. Until this happens, the regulatory framework regarding assignments to contractors should be reinforced in the context of the Plenary decision dated 12-1-2009 of GSEE Governing Body and the relevant study of INE/GSEE on labour relations in the sector of cleaning (2009), taking into account the extended use of contracting across a range of business activity sectors, such as service rendering, as well as production etc:
-establishment of joint and several responsibility for the assigning body or authority (not only for the contractor/subcontractor)
– expansion of the scope of provisions regarding guarding and cleaning assignments outsourcing in all kinds of contracting
-enactment of the ”Registry of Breaching Companies in Cleaning or/and Guarding Service Provision” and publication of its data in the Labour Inspectorate Reports 11 and extension thereof in all kinds of contracting
-up to the explicit ban on contracting assignments for a work provision which is necessary for a business operation, establishment of rigorous contracting companies certification procedures with regard to the services provided
– ratification of C 94 (1949) Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention and of R84, as important regulatory parameter in strengthening the institutional framework against abuse in contracting assignments. The ratification of the R 204 (2015) on Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy constitutes a substantial contribution to the reinforcement of the national regulatory framework.
14. The issues pertaining to health and safety at work constitute a special chapter; in addition to GSEE proposal on the national strategy for health and safety (2010-2015), GSEE representatives both in the Labor Inspectorate Social Control Board and the Health and Safety Council have repeatedly raised the issue. We indicatively mention the following:
– staffing, strengthening and offering the suitable control tools to technical inspectorates in combination with the preparation of control protocols
– integrated keeping and monitoring of statistical data,
– synergy with specialized bodies in the issue of health and safety, such as ELINYAE (Hellenic Institute of Health and Safety at Work)
– boosting and improvement of periodic training not only of Inspectors but also of employers in health and safety at work
– the possibility to match labour accidents and diseases with professional qualifications
– targeted, coherent and ongoing focus on issues of occupational risk and occupational diseases
– activation of occupational physicians’ and safety technicians’ registries -more rigorous controls in the External Services for Protection and Prevention