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22ndannualcapital

Dark Ages for Greek labor market

Given conditions prevailing on the market many employers are attempting to legitimize unpaid employment and avoid legal benefits like the so-called “holiday bonus.”

The incidence of employer violations of employee rights has become so widespread that over a million employees are owed pay in arrears for over a month, and some even for over a year.

Even in the case of the “holiday bonus,” the non-payment of which may immediately land a proprietor in jail, there are shenanigans, bluffs, false excuses, and all sorts of gimmicks to avoid payment.

It is obvious the conditions in the private sector, where only 40% get their pay on time, things are at a boiling point. The other 60% are patiently waiting for pay, or are settling for some portion of pay, that are in essence symbolic replacements for actual salaries.

The General Confederation of Labor of Greece (GSEE) notes that there is an increase in accusations against employers that delay payments, or do not give the holiday bonus, in the last four years, and now concerns around 350 businesses and 5,500 employees annually.

While some employers attempt to give bonuses in goods, or attempt to convince employees that the bonus has been done away with (only true for the public sector), other attempt to cajole or threaten employees to receive a fraction of the bonus and sign for the whole sum.

In most cases firms ask employees to offer their services against future remuneration. According to GSEE delayed remuneration more than doubled in the last year. Most of the incidents are found in the sectors of tourism, security, and cleaning services. Some firms to which state agencies outsource services and are beneficiaries of EU funding don't pay wages offering an educational stipend instead.

In some characteristic instances a super market offered employees food instead of a bonus, gas stations offered heating oil, clothing stores offered clothes, and so on.

Perhaps the most outrageous example was a job add placed by a hotel in Aegina in which the establishment offered just food and board in exchange for work.