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6 in 10 Greek workers cut down on basic food and heating, Labor survey finds

The majority of workers in Greece has cut on basic food products and heating, while 3 in 10 declare insecurity to maintain their job, a survey conducted by Alco on behalf of the General confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) and the Labor Institute has found.

Solution to the current economic situation are taxes cut and increase of the minimum wage, the workers of the country’s private sector said.

Rising prices in energy and food and low or stagnated salaries are putting immense pressure on workers’ income who cut expenditure wherever they can in order to make ends meet.

  • 59% of workers in private sector has said that they have reduced their spending even on basic food products
  • 74% said they have cut down heating
  • 80% said that they have cut in entertainment

35% expressed insecurity about their work place.

Overwhelming majority, 85% of surveyed workers, agreed with the GSEE proposal to revert the minimum wage to 751 euros per month.

Solution to the problems lies in tax cuts, said 49% of respondents.

43% said solution lies on minimum wage rise.

According to GSEE, it is necessary to immediately implement a mixture of interventions in order to protect as much as possible the living standard of workers and especially the lowest paid. The Greek economy and society after many years of austerity is facing a new wave of accuracy and price increases in basic goods and services and stagnation of income threatens the purchasing power of many households and social groups.

For these reasons, GSEE proposes the following income and budgetary interventions that would include, among others:

  • immediate increase of the minimum wage to €751 per month
  • adjust the minimum wage to the standard of living (60% of the median full-time wage) and discuss with employers to set a timetable by re-defining it in the National General Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • decrease of special levies and taxes on energy and basic foodstuffs.
  • a grace period for the payment of energy bills to the poorest households

Referring to the government proposal for a special tax on the extraordinary profits of energy companies, GSEE proposes that these revenues be allocated to support the disposable income of households.

Salaries stagnate, minimum wage much too low

Median wages in Greece reportedly collapsed in the last decade, specifically since 2012, short after the first bailout agreement with the country’s lenders.

Minimum wage decreased by 22% and went down to €583 gross from €571.  For the youth below 25 years old, the decrease was by 32%, ie €511

With minor increases in the last couple of years, the minimum wage is currently at 663 euros (For some workers so much was the electricity bill in March due to so called “adjustment clause.”)

Official data to show that:

  • 56% of employees earn less than 900 euros gross
  • 63.6% earn less than 1,000 euros.

These numbers correspond to wage increases according to the 3-year-schme plus marriage allowance.

It is worth noting that workers are paid with the minimum wage even if they have working experience, however, in a different sector. That’s the legacy of bailout agreements.

More details of GSEE survey here in Greek.

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3 comments

  1. 60% belt tighten and IMF wnats to impose Carbon Tax while forecasting gloom due to Ukraine…

    Anyone notice IMF having kittens lately, ever since Greece’s plan to pay them off early?

    Why?

    IMF has made €2.5 billion PROFIT out of Greece loans!

  2. I realise the reason of food and electricity energy price increase. I work at a store related with home stuff and what I cannot understand is why there is a high increase in prices of other products related with plumbing, electrical, hardware or building materials. Has anything to do with the war?

  3. I think most labour market economists (not trust fund / banking economists) would also agree to a rise in minimum.”why economists changed their minds on the minimum wage” (2014) https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/why-15-minimum-wage-is-pretty-safe Unfortunately, most economic and MBA students. at least in Greece, are taught a theory that assumes an equality in negotiating power. When one side of the market has little power, ie the employees, forget the school book market demand and supply.

    In fact throw Adam Smith back at them:
    (1) “We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject.”
    (2) “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable”

    And the next time ‘institutions’ mention labour market reforms, mention “monopsony’ – one buyer to rule them all / one boss to rule you all – where minimum wages & collective bargaining can counteract excessive employer power & improves efficiency.

    The ‘Monopsonist’ has the power to make labour flexible to whatever the it asks. “The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all” (Joan Robinson who coined the term monopsony). Similar to product price discrimination & market segmentation, it is the power to separate & discriminate people according to characteristics & exploit to them to the margin.

    Monopsony power has reduced labour share of National Income over the last 40 years, depriving people of the benefits of growth, increasing indebtedness to buy and sustain what an economy produces, eventually creating financial crises. Where monopsony power is evident, it reduces both wages and employment beyond what a so-called free market would give, and (combined with a lower domestic demand for output) inhibits growth

    But here in Greece we are trapped by IMF / ECB imposed labour market “reforms” that have increase “monopsony’ power even further, that do not benefit the population but only serve the oligarchs & vested interest that control resources, political parties and the media.