Greek telecoms firm OTE agrees new labour deal that secures jobs

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's largest telecoms operator Hellenic Telecoms (OTE) has signed a new three-year contract with its main labour union, securing 7,000 jobs for the next three years.

OTE, 40 percent-owned and managed by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, said on Wednesday it had committed not to lay off any employees at its fixed-line operations before the end of 2017.

The agreement keeps wages unchanged at 2012 levels until the end of 2017 and maintains a reduced working week.

As part of a previous labour deal in 2011, OTE introduced a 35-hour working week, which meant an average 11 percent wage cut, to avoid layoffs.

Greece's debt crisis, and the austerity imposed by EU/IMF lenders following a bailout, wiped out about a quarter of the economy, driving the jobless rate to record highs.

The new 2015-2017 labour deal also introduces a 755 euro ($920) a month entry salary for new hirings, much higher than the average minimum wage in the Greek private sector.

OTE, which has been facing tough competition from smaller rivals, said the new deal would help it to become more flexible and continue its investments.

The company is saving more than 160 million euros annually after more than 3,000 people took up two voluntary departure schemes since 2012.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter)