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Old wines in new bottles? From State Regulation to Flexible Working Time Arrangements in Greece

Author

Listed:
  • Kretsos, Lefteris
  • Kouzis, Yannis
  • Belegri-Roboli, Athena
  • Markaki, Maria
  • Michaelides, Panayotis G.

Abstract

During the last decades the debate on working time regulation focused on how to achieve greater flexibility at workplace in a way that enhances company adaptability to the volatility of the product markets cycle. For many analysts this change in considering working time mainly as a tool for organizational flexibility was provoked by the multiple restructuring exercises, as well as the increasing interest of employers in controlling working hours that resulted, in turn, in numerous respective collective agreements and alternative working time arrangements at the company level. In many cases, these initiatives were followed by a considerable stagnation in collective working time reductions and were often associated with a support by the State in the sense that greater flexibility in working time schedules is a prerequisite for balancing working and family life and an instrument for economic success. In broad terms no serious changes have taken place in the volume of hours people work in Europe in the 1990s and forward. On the other side, unsocial hours of work have not increased to a great extent and the State still remains the basic architect of national working time regime. Nevertheless employer prerogative on working time determination has increased in many terms and it is more often nowadays to watch trade unions conceding in employers’ demands for extending working week and shopping hours. Considering this situation, it is easy to get confused, as one the one hand no serious changes in national working time regimes are suggested and on the other hand it is argued that employers are more able nowadays to establish their terms and conditions in the bargaining agenda. Our starting point of analysis is that there are national paths and traits of working time changes in Europe. However, we suggest that behind the national variations and distinctiveness of each national case working time changes in Europe are definitely determined by employers’ strategies and their ad hoc needs. In other words, what determines the length and the organization of working hours has basically to do with current and update organizational needs rather than the regulatory framework and the possible militant reaction of trade unions in a proposed change. This argument is tested taking as an example the case of the Greek labour market.

Suggested Citation

  • Kretsos, Lefteris & Kouzis, Yannis & Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Markaki, Maria & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2007. "Old wines in new bottles? From State Regulation to Flexible Working Time Arrangements in Greece," MPRA Paper 74450, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:74450
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Markaki, Maria, 2007. "Input - Output Modelling of Labour Productivity and the Working Time in Greece," MPRA Paper 74453, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    3. Stefano Scarpetta & Andrea Bassanini & Dirk Pilat & Paul Schreyer, 2000. "Economic Growth in the OECD Area: Recent Trends at the Aggregate and Sectoral Level," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 248, OECD Publishing.
    4. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    5. Zagelmeyer, Stefan, 2000. "Brothers in arms in the European car wars: Management-labour pacts in the context of regime competition," MPIfG Working Paper 00/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Working hours; labour market; flexibility; Greece;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards

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