Summary Box: Greek unions, employers discuss costs

The Associated Press
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A woman carries shopping bags as she passes homeless people outside Monastiraki metro station in Athens, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Europe and private investors were gearing up for hard negotiations on how to cut Greece's massive debt Tuesday, after the region's finance ministers adopted a tough stance on how much rescue money they would pump into the Greek economy. (AP Photo / Thanassis Stavrakis)

SEEKING COMMON GROUND: Greek workers and employers discussed cutting private sector labor costs Wednesday amid pressure from debt-crippled Greece's international creditors for labor reforms to boost the country's competitiveness.

THE DETAILS: Both sides agree on the need to avoid any reduction in the minimum wage. Many companies have already forced employees to accept salary cuts to avoid broad-scale layoffs. Workers' income has been sapped by a spate of tax hikes since the European debt crisis began in 2009.

HIGH STAKES: The government has warned that if labor reform talks prove fruitless it could impose wage cuts by law. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said failure to address the issue could disrupt Greece's international cash lifeline, precipitating a bankruptcy in March and Greece's exit from the 17-nation eurozone.