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One in Two Foreign Laborers in Greece Work Without Insurance and Social Security

One in two foreign employees in Greece work without insurance and social security. That was the result of control checks conducted by the Greek Labor Ministry in the first six months of 2012.  According to ministry data, 47.4% of the foreign laborers work without insurance and social security.

Labor ministry, labor inspectors and insurance funds units conducted 10,047 checks at work place in so-called “industrial zones” in Attica, Central Macedonia and Ipirus form January 1st to June 30th 2012.

The total number of employees who were checked was 29,560. Foreigners were 9.491 people, of whom  47.4% were hired to work without insurance and social security.

The number of Greeks working without social security was almost slightly more than one-third of their total number.

Labor Minister Giannis Vroutsis made this data public to the parliament after a question submitted by MP Adonis Georgiadis (ND) demanding the exact number of “illegal immigrants working at industrial zones without insurance.”

In the same six months, the inspector units imposed 4,538 penalties of 5,647,500 euro in total.

No data are available as to whether the penalties were paid as well.

Tourism Industry: 3 in 10

Equally grim are the data concerning workers in the tourism industry. According to data of  labor inspectors, 30.4% of laborers in the tourism industry works without social security. That is 3 out of 10 people.

During control checks conducted in 2,715 restaurants, entertainment, accommodation and service businesses with 11,754 employees, only 8,175 were working with social security.

Greek media, do not report whether there were foreigners among the 3,579 employees working without insurance. Neither it’s being said, in which regions the control checks were conducted.

Penalties of 2,042,000 euro in total were imposed.

According to local newspaper Rodiaki  from Rhodes island, D0decanse, 35.87% of laborers at tourism and catering businesses work “black”. The rate is especially high in the catering sector, with 58.2% of the laborers to work without social security.

The new ‘cheap labor forces’ would come as students-interns from abroad.

PS:  Working without insurance? Soon we will be working without payment too…


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  1. All these businesses are just ahead of schedule. They are already compliant with new Troika imposed labour laws.
    Instead of fining them, they should be applauded for their “private entrepreneurship” which is what Greece apparently has a chronic lack of…

  2. With such a high unemployment rate as you have in Greece, why do you employ foreigners? Why are those jobs not given to the greek people?

    • because it’s much easier for employers to have foreigners – especially undocumented – work for dumping prices, no insurance, no contributions, no unemployment allowances, no complaints to labor inspectors, no trade unions, while natives would ask for all these ‘labor benefits’ plus a higher payment. I wouldn’t know many employers who would hire natives for picking fruits for example.
      On the other hand, middle classes wouldn’t do – not yet- low works. The crisis is still young…

      • Sounds to me like digging your own grave … or maybe just the slow death of the mafioso known as the labour unions?

        • Keeping that line of thought going Svend, why, with unemployment figures in the region of 10 million, is Germany actively recruiting workers in Greece, Spain, Portugal etc (and making a big song and dance about it) instead of employing their own?
          Could it possibly have something to do with exploiting the “cheap labour” market they have created in those countries?
          So does the Greek employer by taking on an immigrant to pick the fruit instead of a Greek? S/he exploits a cheap labour market readily at hand, in most cases from people who had to leave their own country because of similar actions there?
          It doesn’t make it right, far from it, but given the sad economic model the EU operates under, it would seem to be common practice. And the one who gets caught in the act in treated like an idiot for getting caught instead of a criminal for breaking every law in the book. Here, illegal immigrants get deported when caught. Illegal employers get reprimanded (if anything) and told to be more careful in future..

          • from what I read in Greek press, employers of “illegal workers” get a penalty and may have their business closed down for a couple of days. Like in the Paros, where it was striking that the teenager-assaulter was a criminal, an illegal and the case upset the public opinion.

          • Yes, that rightfully caused uproar and authorities had to be seen doing something.
            But the question here is, why was the business punished?
            Were they punished for employing an illegal immigrant who committed a horrendous crime, or were they punished for not paying the taxes, irrespective of who or what nationality the worker is?

          • he was punished for employing an illegal immigrant.

          • Well, in my opinion EU’s Schengen-agreement should be abolished immediately, making it possible for national governments to protect their own people.

            The policies of the European Union are insane, and citizens all across Europe are rapidly turning against this monster, not only its failed economy, but also against the madness of multiculturalism destroying the social cohesion of european societies.

            Time is working against the politicians in power at an alarming rate, so expect this to happen all over Europe soon:


          • “Multiculturalism destroys European national societies”, while Blogging & Commenting via internet is alive and vivi exactly through this multiculturalism some reject 🙂

          • Svend, there is a lot more to Schengen that the so dreaded “multiculturalism”, which is based on, and fueled by fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar, nothing else. If you would make the little effort to get to know at least the basics of the different cultures you encounter, you would know there is nothing to fear.
            Scrapping Schengen is not going to reverse multiculturalism, that is for certain.
            It will accomplish a return to waiting for hours to cross a border with a truck full of what ever, passport controls a mile long, etc. Many moons ago I briefly drove for an international transport company, and i remember vividly the many hours at the French-Spanish border, queuing for days on end at the French-Italian border etc. And then there was the one trip too many, trying to bring a load from Germany into the then communist Czechoslovakia…

    • the reason the jobs go to foreigners is that the greeks wont do many of them as they see them as demeaning – cleaning, waiting etc – and would rather not do these types of roles. also there are some jobs that multilingual foreigners are preferable for in the tourist industry particularly in diving and beach jobs were language skills are required. many of these roles are also seasonal so a greek will always prefer a year round job.

  3. The new ‘cheap labor forces’ would come as students-interns from abroad.

    More then 20 years ago it was already very normal for foreign students to come in harvest season to Greece to pick oranges. Nothing new there.
    Olives are not picked by foreigners though. That’s something locals do themselves as the trees have to be pruned at the same time. And this is difficult and critical work.
    And was there any Greek middle-class family without a foreign child / elderly parent minder or a person to do some of the housekeeping? And I don’t think any of them got insurance?

    • 25 years ago, the British, German, and even American tourists would come here, fall in love with Greece, and then end up getting a job at a restaurant, bar, or whatever just so they could stay in Greece for the summer or longer. The reason this doesn’t happen anymore I believe is because wages are too low to support this type of worker. I always remember Corfu in 1987 coming to a taverna overlooking the sea and having a nice blondy American college girl who knew nothing of the Greek language but still managed to warm those Greek customers whith her smile and aesthetics. And this in the day of mainly Greek male waiters with white shirts and black pants (remember those days!)

      • “those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end…” mary Hopkins not Mary Poppins