May 30, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The standard of living of Greeks has deteriorated: raising the minimum wage does not save the situation

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The deterioration in the standard of living of vulnerable citizens in the period 2021–2023, despite the increase in the minimum wage, is recorded by the report of the Institute of Labor Ινστιτούτου Εργασίας (ΓΣΕΕ).

“The negative impact of inflation on consumption shows that minimum wage increases and government measures have been insufficient to prevent a deterioration in the living standards of vulnerable households,” the report said. As experts especially emphasize, they recorded change in the amount of consumption of basic goods by citizens.

There has been a definite decline in energy consumption (heating, electricity, liquefied petroleum gas) and the amount of vegetables, fish and pasta consumed by the poorest households has fallen.

Basic goods, essential products such as bread, could not be limited, and therefore even these expenses “battered” the family budget due to rising prices. The decline in meat consumption across all households and the impact of inflation on cheese consumption was particularly noticeable.

ΓΣΕΕ President Mr. G. Panagopoulos, speaking at a recent meeting of the organization’s General Council, noted that inflation in the food and non-alcoholic beverages sector has jumped to 31.2%, while rising prices for electricity, natural gas and other fuels reached 39.1%, “rent” – 8.3%, and other goods and services related to “home repair and maintenance” – 7.9%.

Over the same period adjustment of nominal wages and incomes lagged significantly. According to the data, Greeks rank second to last in terms of purchasing power per capita income and the sixth largest taxation (indirect taxes) in the European Union.

Notably, the purchasing power of the minimum wage in October 2023 rose to the same level as in 2015.

It is noted that ΓΣΕΕ announced general strike on April 17 with the main demand for an increase in all wages above the minimum. Trade unions demand the restoration of the National General Collective Agreement and the determination of the minimum wage by public bodies, as well as the restoration of all priorities of collective labor law. Other requirements:

  1. Strict institutional control and transparency in the formation of costs, prices and profits throughout the supply chain.
  2. Suppression of speculation in all enterprises in the main sectors of production and trade in basic food products.
  3. Reduction of VAT on basic food products for one year.
  4. Reduced prices on basic household items such as baby milk, pasteurized milk, cereals, cheese, cold cuts, chicken, legumes, vegetables, baby diapers, personal care products and cleaning supplies.

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