Greece: Jobless Rate Could Reach 29% Next Year
StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece weeknights @ 6 pm Athens time. The following post is a loose transcript of the 3 September 2012 broadcast.
By greydogg and snake arbusto, 99GetSmart
– Greece’s largest labor union has warned that the country’s unemployment rate – now at 23.1 percent – will reach 29% in 2013 if the government carries out more planned austerity measures that include €14-16 billion in cuts for 2013-14.
Savvas Rombolis, Head of Research at the GSEE labor union, which represents private-sector workers, said, “The course of the Greek economy is one of decline. In 2012, we are expecting a drop in GDP of 7 percent. Our estimate is that in 2013, unemployment will be between 28% and 29%, more than 1.4 million people. That’s because we expect the economy to remain in decline.”
That would add 285,000 people to the unemployment rolls, while another 672,000 have seen their benefits expire. The jobless rate for those under 25 is already 54.9%.
Rombolis said the report also found that Greeks on minimum wage have seen their purchasing power reduced to 1979 levels, while those earning an average salary have been pushed back to the equivalent of the early 1980s, based on wage analyses.
– According to an opinion poll from the Financial Times, only 25% of German citizens feel that Greece will stay in the euro:
Just a quarter of Germans consider that Greece must remain in the Eurozone or receive further financial assistance from other member states, according to a poll published today.
The poll is published as German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a domestic political dilemma over whether more time or more money should be given to Greece to get back on course to fulfill the terms of the 174-billion-euro loan agreement.
According to a survey by the Financial Times / Harris, Germans’ attitudes are almost diametrically opposed to those in Italy and Spain, where those interviewed appeared more reluctant to agree with the possibility of an expulsion of Greece from the Eurozone.
The survey sample of 1,000 adults in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Britain showed that only 26% of Germans believe that Greece “will ever repay its loans,” as opposed to 77% of Italians and 57% of Spaniards.
Almost half the Germans who were interviewed did not think Greece will be able to undertake economic reforms sufficient to free itself of the need for international financial assistance. In contrast, 88% of Italians and 70% of Spaniards said they feel “relatively certain” that the government in Athens can progress on economic reforms.
– The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published an article entitled “The Greek Islands Have Much to Offer to Turkish Investors …”
Just a few days ago Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras commented on reports in France’s Le Monde about the sale of uninhabited Greek islands, denying talk of sale but mentioning leasing “on condition that it doesn’t pose a national security problem.” But now the story has changed. Turks are ready to invest and Samaras is ready to sell, according to the story.
– Staff of Athens News Calls 24-Hour Strike
The staff of Athens News, an English-language newspaper published in Greece since 1952, have called a 24-hour strike for today, Tuesday. The decision was made because the staff are owed wages for half of June, all of July, and August, as well as part of their holiday pay. In addition, freelance staff at the newspaper have not been paid since April.
The strike action will mean that the newspaper’s newsroom and classifieds office will be closed and that the Web site, AthensNews.gr, will not be updated. The strike also affects the Espresso newspaper and Flash FM radio, which belong to the same company, NEP.
In a statement posted on the Web site, Athens News staff apologized to readers for the inconvenience and assured them that they remain dedicated to the newspaper’s objective of reporting on Greece in English, as they have done for sixty years now.
– Within the next few days, leaders of university professors’ (POSDEP), teachers’ (TEI BSEC) and researchers’ (NGA) unions will meet with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and Education Minister Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos.
At issue is the Ministry of Finance’s proposed 17.5% reduction in the salaries of university employees. The academics describe the newest cuts as “an act of war,” noting that since 2004 salaries have suffered reductions of 25%.
– Greece’s Competition Commission has accused ten of the country’s largest poultry companies and their trade association of participating in a price-fixing and market-sharing cartel between 1996, when price ceilings were abolished, and 2010.
Greek consumers literally paid the price for the scam. In January 2006 the price of chicken in Greece was the seventh most expensive in the EU. In January 2010 it was the fourth most expensive; by January 2012 it has fallen to ninth place in the EU.
– SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made remarks concerning the government-of-the-regime’s attempt to cover up the Siemens scandal. “Samaras did not go to Berlin empty-handed. He offered Ms. Merkel the token gift of his active participation in protecting the perpetrators of the Siemens scandal. This amounts to a €2 billion gift for Germany.”
Tsipras charged that the compromise agreement with Siemens was “a cover-up of the biggest and most symbolic scandal – with respect to inter-party collusion – in the post-dictatorship period.”
Tsipras pledged that when SYRIZA takes over the government it will nullify the agreement, assign the assessment of the damage caused to the state to a third-party assessor, and seek the relevant indemnities in court.
“We will seek to prosecute Siemens through an international court, for the damages to the Greek state. We will request a public apology from the German government for harboring the Siemens CEO who perpetrated these crimes. And, we will find out which Greek politicians took bribes from Siemens and who continue to take money from Germany.”
Tsipras asked for Prime Minister Samaras to take an official position on press reports alleging that his legal advisor, Ioannis Karacostas, was on Siemens’s payroll during the period when the main protagonist in the scandal, Mihalis Christoforakos, was CEO of the local subsidiary Siemens Hellas.
He said that the Siemens scandal revealed that the parties and political figures alternating in the government in the post-dictatorship period (New Democracy and PASOK) were both recipients of the kickback money.
Tsipras stressed that what the government was presenting as “profit” from the compromise with Siemens was “peanuts” compared with the losses suffered by the state.
Read more about the out-of-court settlement between the state and Siemens.
StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece on weeknights at 6pm Athens time @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr