6 out of 10 Greeks cut their consumption of basic food and heating

According to a survey conducted by Alco on behalf of the Greek General Confederation of Labor (GSEE) and the Institute of Labor, the majority of workers in Greece have cut their consumption of basic food and heating, while 3 out of 10 say they are uncertain about keeping their job.

The way out of the current economic situation is to cut taxes and raise the minimum wage, according to private sector workers in the country.

Rising energy and food prices, as well as low or stagnant wages, are putting enormous pressure on the incomes of workers who are cutting spending wherever they can to make ends meet.

  • 59% of private sector workers said they have reduced their spending even on basic food.
  • 74% said they had cut their heating.
  • 80% have cut entertainment.
  • 35% expressed insecurity in their workplace.
  • The vast majority, 85% of the workers surveyed, agreed with the GSEE proposal to restore the minimum wage to 751 euros per month.
  • The solution to the problems lies in lowering taxes, according to 49% of respondents.
  • 43% said the solution was to raise the minimum wage.

According to GSEE, a set of measures must be implemented immediately to protect the living standards of workers, especially the lowest paid, as much as possible. The Greek economy and society, after years of austerity, is facing a new wave of rising prices for basic goods and services, and income stagnation threatens the purchasing power of many households and social groups.

For these reasons, GSEE proposes the following revenue and budget measures, which include, among others:

  • an immediate increase in the minimum wage to 751 euros per month.
  • adjust the minimum wage to the standard of living (60% of the average full-time wage) and discuss with employers the issue of setting a timetable by changing its definition in the national general collective agreement.
  • reduction of special fees and taxes on energy and basic foodstuffs.
  • grace period for paying electricity bills to the poorest households

Referring to the Government’s proposal to introduce special tax on excess profits of energy companiesGSEE proposes that these revenues be used to support household disposable income.

Wages stagnant, minimum wage too low

The average wage in Greece has reportedly fallen sharply over the past decade, especially since 2012, shortly after the first bailout deal with the country’s creditors. The minimum wage was reduced by 22%, from 583 euros to 571 euros “net”. For young people under 25, the decrease was 32%, i.e. 511 euros.

With a slight increase over the last couple of years, the minimum wage is now 663 euros (for some workers, this was the amount of the electricity bill in March due to the so-called “adjustment clause”).

Official data confirm that:

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

These figures correspond to the increase in wages in accordance with the three-year scheme.

It is worth noting that workers are paid the minimum wage, even if they have experience in another industry. This is a legacy of the 2015 creditor pressure bailout agreements.

Learn more about the GSEE survey here in Greek.

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