High unemployment in austerity-stricken Greece dumps salaries and wages. Employers want to spend as less as possible on salaries, employees are forced to compromises unthinkable before the crisis. A job at any price. Not matter how low the price.

Greece’s private sector employers shamelessly ignore labor laws and offer a handful peanuts with the ultimatum “Take it or Leave it!” A blackmail desperate unemployed cannot deny.

No wonder.

Data based on the tax income declaration of 2017 – for the tax year 2016- reveal the current status of wages and salaries in Greece’s private sector. They are shockingly low especially when one takes into consideration the cost of living in the country. The data does not reveal the working conditions, whether full or part time or rotating work.

Young employees below 20 years old, do not earn more than €260 net per month

Employees at 24 years old work full time for €380 net.

Workers up to 30, earn €509, and those at 34 do not take home more than €660.

Average Gross Wages

Chart explanation: 1. Column: age group Bars: Green wages in 2009 – Orange wages June 2016   % Percentage shows the wages decrease for the time period 2009-2016. source: kathimerini

The biggest wages from -42% to -25% affect young employees and those in the most productive age, in the 30’s and 40’s.

Those in the 30’s plan to establish a family and those at the end of the 30’s and in the 40’s do already have a family and children. They have to deal with higher obligations and lower income.

548,000 employees belong to the age group 40-49.

Registered employees over 50 are 335,000 people. Before the crisis, many of them earned more than €1,600 gross.

  • In 2012, the minimum wage was lowered from €780 to €580 gross for workers over 25 years old and went down to €510 gross for workers in the age group 15-24.

According to the same data base, the average main pension decreased by 13.96% between 2012 and 2016. From 2010-2017, main and supplementary pensions were cut 14 times.

Unemployment rates improved in the last months due to seasonal hiring in the tourism sector.

  • 21.7% unemployment rate in April 2017, It is still the highest in the European Union. Greece is followed by Spain with 17.1%.

However, according to the Union of  Employees in Tourism and Restaurants, employers give emphasis in hiring young employees up to 25 years old due to the low wages. Wages in the sector for this age group and for full time job are €510 gross or €410 net after tax and social security contributions. This trend, Greek media describe as “employers’ negative culture” hinders the signature of collective bargain that would allow the hiring of older employees with several years experience and consequently higher wages.