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Labor inspectors fine two grannies “for illegal work” in family tavern

A granny in a tavern No one can imagine a traditional tavern in the Greek countryside or on the islands without  a granny helping out. I can still recall a granny outside a restaurant in Apollonia, Sifnos, preparing french fries, back then when they were freshly made from scratch.

Dressed in black, the granny was sitting in an old wooden chair, leaning over a tray, holding a knife in her hand, peeling potatoes from a sack next to her.

She would grab the potatoes one by one, quickly remove the skin and throw them in a bucket of water. From time to time she would empty the skins from the tray into a plastic bag.

Every afternoon, the old woman, the granny, would help with the preparations before the visitors and foreigners arrived for dinner.

Every afternoon, when we went up to Apollonia for a walk and ice cream, the granny was sitting there in the old chair on the very narrow sidewalk on the main street of the village, surrounded by potatoes and skins, sacks and bags and buckets.

Summer in, summer out.

This image has been etched in my mind for years, well, it’s now has been for decades.

I never dared to take a picture of her, and I regretted it when one summer the granny was no longer there. She was an integral part of the whole scenery, the narrow sidewalk, the late afternoon light, the walk and the ice cream.

Had it be nowadays, the tavern owners, probably her son or son in law, would have to hide the granny in the darkest corner of the tavern kitchen. Because, ever since the latest bailout agreement, Greece has adjusted to European rules of labor and grannies helping out in the family business are considered as “illegal workforce” if they are not registered with social security contributions, pension stamps and all the modalities required by the law.

That’s the legacy of Dr Schaeuble who had no idea that also grannies have been working in the farmers’ tavern in his own homeland without being registered as “work force” – because the farmers would hide the grannies once he would come as close as 5 km.

In this sense, labor inspectors who spotted two grannies helping out in the kitchen of a family tavern in Trikala, central Greece, pulled out their books of fines and starting to write down the fine for their “employer.”

The two elderly sisters-in-law, aged 76 and 81, were found working in the kitchen. They would be probably mixing the tzatziki, turn zucchini slices into flour-egg mix or even cut tomatoes and feta for the Greek salad.

Work is work, the bureaucrats certainly thought.

The inspectors considered them as labor force working “illegally” without registration to the relevant authorities, without social security and other labor modalities, and fined the tavern owners with 10,500 euros for each granny.

According to local media trikalavoice, the fine of 21,000 euros was imposed despite the owners protests that the grannies were relatives, simply helping out due to increased number of customers on that day.

The tavern owners intend to exhaust all possible legal means in order to challenge the fine.

PS Ok, there is an issue of the unpaid work all the original grannies in the Greek countryside but that’s another story.

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  1. Don’t draw the law too far! The old Grannys can, once more, feel as if they matter to the family. They can contribute… That gives selfconfidence to the older generation, very important when you get old! The Grannys of Greece, who once “rouled” the familiy (at home indoors of course) have a though situation. Please, let them do what they can and want to do without punishing their families!!!

  2. So are the authorities going to fine every granny that looks after their grandchildren in the school holidays as unpaid unlicensed childminders

  3. For goodness sake! Why can’t the police deal with laws that are broken everyday and have an effect on people’s lives and health: seat belts not worn in cars even with children in front seats; not using helmets on motor cycles; smoking inside cafes and restaurants; double and triple parking; cars taking up two bays in a car park: millions of cases each year that the police are too idle to deal with. The country’s coffers would soon be overflowing with much needed cash. Leave the grannies alone, they need to be seen as being useful to their families. We still have one grandma who peels the potatoes in a family restaurant. So few hours it wouldn’t even pass as employable part time work. Old traditions will be eroded even more quickly if this stupidity continues. Shame on the police who brought forward the case, hope he has a grandmother to face with well justified wrath and scorn. Unbelievable!

  4. again, one more example of how these bureacrats (and politicians, and bankers) are criminally insane, dangerous psychopaths who are the single biggest threat to society, the life, and yes also health, of all humans. any healthy and sane society must remove such parasitical infection immediately if it has any hopes to survive.

  5. Your description of s granny is perfect.

    Greece has sold her soul for such terrible de6lf inflicted stupidity to prevail.

    I have known Greece for over 40 years, its fall is dreadful and rips at my heart.

    I am in Spain, souless, but stable (except Covid). I would love to be in Greece…but…….

    These stories are NOT rare.

  6. Never let the law be applied by stupid bureaucratic idiots: if you point the moon at these poor assholes, they look at your finger. I say this as an Italian, a country where these ways are the norm. Like Italy, Greece would have many areas in which to evolve, but leaving discretion to the ignorant is a disaster.

  7. Dave van de Gevel

    Three cheers for the yayas of Greece.They are a vital part of any Greek family and restaurant/taverna business. Let’s hope the judicial system applies some common sense to this case and throws it out.
    Are the police officers involved on a bonus for every ticket they hand out?
    Most businesses are struggling in the current virus-hit crisis and bit of generous, understanding discretion would go a long way.