Mafia-style practices in Greece’s labor market: employers hire people with criminal records to extort part of their employees’ salaries. An incredible denouncement has been made by the Association of Private Sector Employees. Workers go to ATMs in the escort of employers’ henchman and give back to employer part of their salary once they have withdrawn it.
According to the Association, this practice is brand new and seems to have replaced an older practice according to which employees were forced to confirm on paper higher salaries than the real amount they used to receive.
The brand new practice was invented after new regulations in the labor market went into effect in December 2016. According to the new laws, employers are required to deposit wages and salaries on employee’s bank account. Through this practice both employers and employees have an official proof of the transaction. Aim of this regulation was to avoid tax evasion and avoidance of social security contributions.
However, it seems that many employers were quick to find ways to bypass the new regulation. They adopted Mafia-style practices to claim back part of the salary they pay to employees. We used to speak of Middle Ages in the Greek labor market after the bailout agreements went into implementation. But now, the exploitation of the labor craft has reached new and unprecedented levels.
On a report broadcast by private ANT1 on Wednesday, an employee said that his boss cashes back some 200 to 300 euros from every salary. He described that he was forced to go to an ATM in the escort of a person of his boss’s trust. He withdraw his salary and gave a part of it to that person.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, the employee said that many employees allow this to happen out of fear to lose their jobs.
In Greece of bailout and austerity agreements, unemployment in Greece skyrocketed to 27% in 2012 and 2013. It is still high at 23-24 percent, with 75% of the more than one million jobless to be long-term unemployed.
The tragic is that the employee has to pay taxes according to the salary he receives on the company’s papers but not in real life.
The employer appears to be legal at all levels as he can show the labor authorities the bank transaction as a proof for the salary payments. However, he steals the money from the employee and fills his own pockets with extra cash, black money, that is not being taxed.
According to the Association, these henchmen are usually people with a criminal record and are in no labor relation with the employer’s company.
“In case of a denouncement or even a red-handed arrest these henchmen cannot be associated with the employer’s company,” the Association stressed.
PS the practice of contractors to enforce laborers to sign for higher wage is as old as the Greek stones. It has been nicely presented in the epic Greek film Υπάρχει και Φιλότιμο (1965) or Μαυρογιαλούρος about corruption in the public sector, the unions and political party officials.
But now stealing an employee’s wage has reached new atmospheric levels.