The new National General Collective Labour Agreement (EGSSE) for 2018 will be signed between 26-30 March, based on an initial agreement reached between the national-level social partners on Friday.

According to sources of the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), the agreement will apply until the end of December. The social partners involved are the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE), the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) and the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

Technical teams from the groups are expected to complete the negotiations by March 26 and the text of the agreement will be signed at the offices of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises by March 30.

The social partners also decided to form study groups to deal with issues of business sustainability and rescuing jobs, non-wage costs and the professional insurance funds.

"Maintaining the EGSSE does not mean an increase in the minimum wage in 2018, nor does it burden the employer with anything more than what he pays today. Clearly, after three memoranda, there are difficulties, but they can be overcome by us, the institutional social partners," the head of ESEE, Vassilis Korkidis said.

"The signing of a new EGSSE requires prudence and consensus, and a sense of responsibility that ESEE has. Our position over the years has been to correct the wrong elements but with caution, so that we do not move from one extreme, to [the other by] abolishing it," he added.