Date: Sat, 21 Feb 98 14:51:12 CST
From: “\”Alpha\” anarchist newspaper” <>
Subject: (en) GREEK NEWS BULLETIN No 2
Article: 28423

The management of unemployment in Greece

Alpha, No.2, February 1998

The greek unemployed are over 10.5 % of the population. Young unemployed people are not automatically entitled to unemployment benefit after their coming of age, when they don’t study and can’t find a job. Even the “lucky ones” who are entitled to it can only receive the minimal sum of 82.000 Drs. (about 280 dollars) for a period of 6 to 12 months.

About 170.000 people are subsidized every month, although the number of unemployed is 450.000. The state spends about 600.000 Drs. per year on each registered unemployed, which is only 35 % of the average spending of E.U. countries on unemployed. Long time jobless are 58.3 % of the total. According to official sources, 157.000 greeks have been looking for a job for over two years. The jobless over 45 years old are about 60.000 and these people are usually long time unemployed. 85 % of “old” (over 45) jobless haven't finished secondary school. These people are on the brink of retirement and are in danger of losing their pension. They usually support elderly parents who can't live on their pensions and sometimes jobless children. They are led to the margin of society, since they don't all qualify for unemployment benefit (and those who do, not for as long as they are jobless). Up to now, family used to support unemployed members, but it's gradually losing this ability.

On Tuesday 13 January, the minister of Labor introduced a plan on the “promotion of employment”, based on the “Trust Treaty Towards 2000”, signed by E.U. members. This plan provides 118 billion Drs. funding to employers (subsidized employment with 4.000 Drs. for up to 18 months) so that 68.000 people will have the chance to work as “trainees” for two months. If they are considered fit for the job, they may sign a 16 month subsidized employment contract. There will be additional programs on training, employment and relocation for massively laid off people. The Ministry of Labor is working on three more programs: one for young people who have quitted school, one for 10.000 new posts in banks and public services (subsidized by the European Social Fund), and one for social employment. The minister's motto was “Let the jobless resume responsibility of their employment”. Every enlisted unemployed will receive a special card, which will enable him to choose between “unemployment benefit, subsidized training or subsidized employment”.

The state's objective is to manage the load of unemployment, reduce the period of unemployment of each individual and regulate movability of working people to different sectors. “Flexibility of workforce” is the means to achieve the above. For the first time in Greece, part time employment is subsidized, and therefore officially promoted. The OECD presents “flexible” employment as the solution to unemployment and demands specialization from those who don’t want to be condemned to permanent unemployment: training for the unskilled and life long training for employees in general. The general principle is “full time” employment of flexible and downgraded poor working people.