A moratorium on negotiating and concluding collective labour agreements in the public service six months before an election, is one of the suggestions included in a memorandum sent by leading employers to the new government, they said on Wednesday.
The Employers and Industrialists federation (OEV) laid out a roadmap for the next five years and sent it to the new cabinet, the organisation’s president Christos Michaelides announced at a news conference.
He said OEV representatives would have separate meetings on Thursday with a number of ministers to press home their suggestions, which the organisation believes would create more jobs and growth.
These included reverting to the 10 per cent corporate tax rate from the current 12.5 per cent. It was raised during the financial crisis at the behest of the troika. Reverting, Michaelides said would encourage more investment.
OEV also underlined the need for a moratorium negotiating and concluding public sector labour agreements six months before parliamentary and presidential elections because “we cannot be party to any electioneering games”.
In the months leading to this year’s presidential elections, incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades agreed to a slew of pay deals with public sector unions. Michaelides said public-sector reforms also needed to go ahead to promote a rationalisation of wage costs and a culture of meritocracy.
“We want less state because less state means less burden on the citizen, more growth and greater use of the private sector, which is the driving force of the economy,” he said.
Another area OEV believes needs reform relates to regulating strikes in essential services to protect the economy. Also on the list is a request that the employers’ contribution to the social cohesion fund be cancelled out once they have to make payments into the new national health scheme. Employers also want to see a 50 per cent reduction in their contribution to the redundancy fund from 1.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent.
With regard to attracting and encouraging investment, Michaelidis referred to the controversial citizenship for investment scheme saying: “We agree with those who have expressed the view that we need to protect this institution while not abusing it,” he said, adding that the recent publication of a list of those who benefited from the scheme, could “only be harmful”.
Another way to encourage foreign investment, Michaelides said, would be to simplify procedures for the employment of foreign nationals from highly specialised third countries.