Turning Greek labour forces into “Chinese workers” without rights and an as-minimum-as-possible wage seems to be the dream not only of the International Monetary Fund, the Troika and Germany but also that of multinational companies. Allegedly in the name of holy competitiveness, multinationals want to trade “peanuts” for “salary” in order to invest in Greece: monthly salaries of 250-300 euro and thus for part time work only. And, of course, changes in labor law in order to avoid paying compensation.
This shocking offer was revealed during a meeting of Development Minister Kostis Chatzidakis with representatives of eleven multinational companies, among them Barilla, Bic Violex and Nestle.
According to Sunday edition of To Vima, in the eyes of multinational companies managers, further lowering of wages is the precondition for boosting competitiveness.
“We would further invest, if Greece were more friendly to investment,” said the 11 managers in one voice, asking limitation of bureaucracy, reduction in energy cost and simplification of procedures for production activities.
However, the managers took the Greek government by surprise, when they posed the issue of further lowering the wages, especially for jobless youth.
“We don’t understand, why there must be a cap for the minimum wage in a country where youth unemployment has reached unbelievable levels. Give us the chance to hire young labor forces with less money. They will work less hours and less days per week,” Giorgos Spilopoulos, CEO of Barilla Hellas suggested.
“I am not in charge. I will pass it through» Development minister Kostis Chatzidakis answered, implying that he would forward the request to Labor Minister.
“Exactly what wages levels you are talking about?” a ministry official asked.
“We could give 250-300 euro for part-time work, three or four days per week,” eight out of the evelen managers proposed in the long discussion led by the managers of Barilla, Bic Violex aand Nestle.
Representative of Nestle, Raymond Franke, put also another issue on the labor conditions table: “The time to inform an employee about his lay-off has to be reduced as well,” said Franke [to avoid paying compensation to fired employees].
“The government believes, minimum wages cannot be further lowered,” Chatzidakis reminded them.
However, the multinationals’ representatives proved determined to continue the pressure.
“The Greek market is dying. the money you promised to give to the real market, did not reach it. We too have to be competitive to the costs in the East. It’s an idea that you have to consider, to that the unemployment rate drops and thus among the youth. Especially now when we hear even more often ” I want a job, for whatever salary.” (full article To Vima)
According to latest data, unemployment in Greece reach 27% in November 2012, with the youth being unemployed at 60.1%.
After immense Troika pressure, the minimum wage was lowered in February 2012 down to 586 euro gross per month (510 euro/month for youth below 25 years old.)
To tell you the truth, I do not quite understand the revolutionary aspect of the managers’ proposal. Paying part-timers €250 is like paying full-timers €500. Of course, part-timers have less rights, no vacation, no bonuses and much lower compensation when fired.
I wonder why these genius manages do not invest in Bulgaria where the minimum wage is some 150 euro per month… But they love Greece, don’t they?
Barilla HELLAs dismissed the report claims that it agreed on lowering the minimum wage. Barilla said it was totally against lowering the minimum wage and what the company CEO allegedly said it was not true.
Also Bic Violex said that it did not support further lowering of minimum wage.
Apparently more companies dismiss the report as there are society calls to boycott the products of the 11 multinationals.
PS I will sacrifice myself with pleasure to see multinational companies getting competitive with their rivals producing in Eastern Europe and Asia and earn a lot of money. If only Nestle would drop the liter-milk down to 0.30 euro, Nesquick down to 1 euro and their cereals would not cost 50% more in Greece than in other EU countries. I would also love to see Barilla swimm in euro banknotes, if only their pasta would cost no more than 25 cents 🙂