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400K Greek Employees Work Without Salary since 6 Months

Maria* has been working at a lady’s fashion shop in Glyfada, a noble suburb of Athens, in the south. The 50-year old woman is desperate. Last time she got paid her full salary of 900 euro was in July 2011. From August onwards, Maria has been receiving 200 euro per month. Advanced downpayment, they call it. In March she saw her ‘salary’ was even more decreases. She got 150 euro to spend the month. She works full time job, 40 hours per week. How can she cope with this money? She doesn’t. She gets loans from relatives and friends…

Maria, a friend of mine,  is just one of the  estimated 400,000 employees in Greece who do not receive their salaries on time. The result of a domino effect: recession, consumers buying only to cover basic needs and banks that give no loan have caused an unprecedented lack of cash flow in the market. Only one out of ten enterprises pays its employees on time.  

According to Michalis Chalaris, from Labour Inpsection Authority,  the biggest salary delays are recorded in eating out services (25.5%), in retail (24.7%) and hotels (8.85%).

Since the beginning of the year, 15,000 employees have been forced to work part time and consequently saw their salaries cut into half. Others still working full time suffered 20% salary cuts. Others got just laid off and went home with a 450 euro jobless allowance for one year.

For some employees the last time they saw a salary, it was the Christmas season.

There has been an increase in part-time jobs without insurance and social security, while in the majority of enterprises collective labour bargains have been cancelled. Private contracts seem to be very … trendy with significant salary decreases.

While the full-time work contracts were 79% in 2009, they went down to 66.9% in 2010 and fell further to 60.4% iin 2011. On the contrary part-time contracts rose from 16.7% in 2009, to 30.65% in 2011.

Rotating jobs experienced an increase from 4.3% up to 8.95%.

PS How can consumers spend money when their income is zero? No wonder the market has dried out…

* Maria – real name of employee has been changed for obvious reasons…

Nice Ruters report on Greek woman without job A hopeless situation

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  1. and banks that give no loan

    I am really wondering what in the world these ‘banks’ here ARE doing. Not giving loans to healthy businesses. Giving tens of millions to bankrupt parties. And today it took one hour to arrange for four bills to be automatically deducted from our account in the future… ONE HOUR! I know countries where that takes just 1 minute.
    And they will get a 40 billion or so cash injection? A lethal one should be more helpful I would say, if I wasn’t categorically against the death penalty… even for banks. 😉

  2. Thanks for this article. Very revealing and totally in line with what I am seeing around me. I know several people personally who have not been paid for months now. One of the more shocking things was that it are not only Greeks and Greek companies that are not being paid. But also people who work for foreign universities… Very weird. Must have to do with the structure under with a lot of those universities are working here…
    But that’s of less importance.
    The main point is all those people who work for nothing… I am afraid that for most of them also no insurance has been paid. Where are the unions now? But where were those unions when this happened in past years? It was not as massive as now, but a lot of people with temporary contracts with the state were often not paid for months. And I remember a case where people were not paid for TWO years. And when they went on strike I was totally surprised that they went on working. Then it was because they were hoping for that ‘job-for-life’.
    One question: it is, as far as I am aware, illegal to NOT have insurance when you work. Even in a part-time job. Guess people are so desperate they really don’t care.
    One more sign that Greece is grinding to a complete halt. But when will enough be enought? When will the explosion occur?

    • keeptalkinggreece

      strike? it depends on the size of the company to be effective. and Yes it is illegal to work without insurance. Remember a short story recently where a woman was caught to work part-time 20 h per week, 5 eur/hours? it was a new small cafe, SDOE and labour inspection controlled, fined the new businessman, who had not experience with tricks. with 500 euro, the woman lost her job. Employees have the opportunity to make complain to LI but at the very end they can lose their job. There is no employees’ protection nowadays.

  3. The construction workers building the new marina in Rhodes are unpaid since May 2011, the local press continually prints articles regarding the opening of the Marina in the summer, however the project has no building supplies in order to proceed. The workers continue to work, many losing their homes, their wives not to mention their sanity, no information is given to them as to if or when they will ever get paid, its a question of take it or leave it and due to the fact that there is no work in the building sector they are forced to wait and see. This is a project that will bring a much needed boost to the local economy, however the current situation is a scandal.