The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) wants responsibility for setting the basic wage to be given back to the social partners, in the context of negotiations for a National General Collective Labour Agreement, GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos said in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Friday.

According to Panagopoulos, who heads the largest umbrella trade union organisation representing private-sector workers in Greece, GSEE was not willing to participate in the current process for deciding the minimum wage, in committees that included representatives of both the labour and finance ministries.

"We have said that we will not participate in such committees," he said, while noting GSEE's decision that it was willing to participate "if and when the labour minister invites us, with the employers, to really negotiate on the issue of setting the basic wage."

He noted that GSEE's standing position since the collective labour agreement was scrapped in 2012 was that it should be restored by law, as recommended by European experts and institutions, but the present government had passed exactly the same legislation and simply changed the date of its implementation for 2018.

Following a unanimous decision on Thursday, GSEE's board announced its decision not to participate in the verbal consultation of the social partners on the basic wage, saying that the setting of the minimum wage by the government violated the workers' rights to free collective bargaining.