From Competitive Corporatism to Embedded Austerity: Neoliberalism and Structural Reform in Greece during the Eurozone Crisis

Geoff Kennedy

Abstract


Purpose. This paper examines the transformation collective bargaining institutions and the weakening of labour market protection in Greece under the auspices of austerity since the onset of the Eurozone Crisis.
Design/methodology/approach. The paper situates the reforms associated with the Troika backed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) within the broader context of labour market reform in Greece and Europe. It examines the impact of these reforms on the Greek labour market and its system of industrial relations.
Findings. Neoliberal structural reforms have resulted in the disorganized decentralization of collective bargaining and the weakening of employment protection. Sectoral and occupational collective bargaining has all but collapsed and Greek trade unions significantly weakened.  On top of this, new forms of Eurozone governance have been implemented to further entrench neoliberalism and embed austerity in national level institutions.
Research limitations/implications. The research contributes to debates on labour market flexibility and the neoliberal transformation of Southern European labour markets in the context of the Eurozone crisis.
Originality/value. Using the most recent data, the paper demonstrates how labour market and collective bargaining reforms have little to do with reducing public sector spending and more to do with disciplining Greek labour.
Paper type. Issues paper.