Student Challenges Politicians: How Does Life Looks Like for Greeks Working for 450 Euro per Month? (video)

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“The student who stunned politicians” is the title of the video, with Vasilis Themistoklis, 27, speaking to politicians about how the real life looks like when young labourers work for 450 euro per month. How the real horror the Greek politicians created looks like when one has to live within.

Vasilis, an accounting student, was guest on a talk-show together with politicians from almost all political parties represented at the Parliament. Apparently before Vasilis started to speak the discussion was about the dilemma euro vs drachma, development and growth, competitiveness ans social tissue: the nice empty staff our Greek politicians love to talk about when they address each other leaving aside the real problems of real people living  in a real society.

Vasilis did nothing more than just adding together the minimum cost of living (housing, food, utilities, heating, phone) and working (transport cost) and substracting them from the 450 euro a young labourer takes home every month, after the lowering of the minimum wage down to 580 euro gross per month for those above 25 years old, and 510 euro gross for those below 25 – in the name of competitiveness, the Troika and the loan.

 Video – excerpt from talk-show “Is there a life after Memorandum III?)

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“When I will start working I will get just 450 euro, despite the fact that I will be Technical University graduate. The employer does not care, and if I refuse, he can pick among hundreds in seek on job. I will work for 12-15 hours per day.”

Taking into consideration that he, a young man of 28,  would most probably live together with a young woman, he counted their monthly expenses and thus on the basis that one in two young Greeks are without job. Officially the unemployment among youth is 58 percent.

“I will need 200 euro to rent a small 20-30 sqm apartment. Pay 50 euro for electricity, 5 euro for water. 0.50 euro for a bread loaf for two on a daily basis. 10 euro telephone cost. Tickets to go to work: 1.40 x 2  that is 2.80 per day. With a monthly card, 28 euro per month. Once a week two coffees at a cafeteria. One euro per day for food.

All these expenses make together 432 euro. I still have a rest of 18 euro. I may need 100 liter for heating oil. At a price of 1.40 euro per liter, how many liters can I buy for 18 euro?”

In a content-full speech, Vasilis managed to describe in simple words and with exact numbers how someone can live on 450 euros per month when one very tightly estimated would need 600-700 euro to cover only very basic needs.

He asked the politicians to tell him at what economic basis, he would start a family and have a child. The camera can only show totally silenced men and women, preferably looking down.

“Nice society, nice development. What social tissue? That people sleep on the pavements? What growth? That’s begging that they will give us money we will pay them back,” 

he addressed the politicians who didn’t dare to open their mouths and speak even an “ah’, an “oh” or even an “errhm…”.

Criticizing the chapter “Education”, he said that he needs 24 euro for two ways bus ticket to attend classes at the Technical University of  Chalkida, a city 70 km east from Athens. He spoke of lecturers working on hour-basis who haven’t been paid since four years and thus pay 24 euros to go and teach. And interesting enough, a former deputy Education minister on the panel did not raised any objection.

“I am at the University from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening. I may need to drink a coffee… And if for some reason the professor extends the class, after 8.30 there is no bus I can take to return home.”

As for the dilemma euro vs drachma and the drachma-threats about the deterioration of life as often spoken by conservative Nea Dimocratia and Socialist PASOK during the last 2.5 years, Vasilis reminded them:

“You say that with the drachma, we will have no heating oil. YOu think we have heating oil now with the euro? Many households cannot afford heating oil this winter, they cannot afford even to eat or buy medicine.”

The audience applauded. Some politicians were bold enough to see afterwards “we knew all this…” 

The talk show was broadcast by web TV of news portal E-nikos.gr on November 18th 2012.