I love these flat faced guys in grey suits, long political party records and smart advises. General secretary of Finance Ministry Giorgos Mergos shocked Greeks on Tuesday, when he claimed the minimum wage was still too high when compared with other countries. Obviously considering 586 euro gross per month and 511 euro gross for those below 25 years old as …exaggerated.
“The unit labour cost has decreased in Greece but the minimum wage remains in high levels and this slows down the development,” Mergos said during a meeting of private insurance funds.
To support his argumentation, Mergos quoted specific data published by OECD showing the minimum wage in other countries. “The labor market flexibility as implemented in Northern Europe can be an experience for us too since it did not affect the social cohesion,” he added.
The professor of Economics in Athens University and member of the science board of “Konstantinos Karamanlis Fundation” (Nea Dimocratia) should actually know what even my youngest cat knows: that the OECD data 2012 showed 7,400 euro annual minimum wage in Greece while in Northern Europe was much higher. Unless he needs also to define “Northern Europe” Iceland or Sweden? or Latvia and Esthonia, countries outside the Eurozone price hikes.
Labour and Finance Ministry react
Mergos’ provocative statement caused an outrage forcing the Labour and Finance ministries to react. Labour Minister assured, “the minimum wage will remain at these levels until the austerity program is over”, while the Finance Ministry issued a statement saying that “Mergos just quoted Eurostat data.”
UPDATE: After the government’s reaction, Giorgos Mergos saw himself obliged to make a statement saying that he expressed his personal opinions. Furthermor,e he claimed, that “an excerpt of his speech was isolated, [blahblahblah].”
Daughter secured jobs in public sector
On the occasion of Mergos statement, online news paper Zougla.gr, brought back an older report according to which his daughter, a lawyer, has managed to jump from one work place in the public sector and thus in several state organisations. “Chairman of Lawyers Association has asked her to explain how she manages to find so many work places while the public sector is closed to her colleagues,” stresses Zougla.gr
PS I would not worry about the professional future of Mergos. I’m sure he will be offered a job at the IMF, as they both have a common target: to strangulate down to the impossible the minimum wage in Greece. Poul Thomsen and Christine Lagarde have repeatedly declared the minimum wage must go further down in torder to boost competitiveness.
Those eating with golden spoons food paid by taxpayers cannot understand the hunger of the other…