Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Amazon Black Friday vs Prime Day vs Cyber Monday, Which are Real or Fake Sales - 1st Dec 20
The No.1 Biotech Stock for 2021 - 1st Dec 20
Stocks Bears Last Chance Before Market Rally To SPX 4200 In 2021 - 1st Dec 20
Globalists Poised for a “Great Reset” – Any Role for Gold? - 1st Dec 20
How to Get FREE REAL Christmas Tree 2020! Easy DIY Money Saving - 1st Dec 20
The Truth About “6G” - 30th Nov 20
Ancient Aztec Secret Could Lead To A $6.9 Billion Biotech Breakthrough - 30th Nov 20
AMD Ryzen Zen 3 NO UK MSRP Stock - 5600x, 5800x, 5900x 5950x Selling at DOUBLE FAKE MSRP Prices - 29th Nov 20
Stock Market Short-term Decision Time - 29th Nov 20
Look at These 2 Big Warning Signs for the U.S. Economy - 29th Nov 20
Dow Stock Market Short-term and Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 20
How To Spot The End Of An Excess Market Trend Phase – Part II - 28th Nov 20
BLOCKCHAIN INVESTMENT PRIMER - 28th Nov 20
The Gold Stocks Correction is Maturing - 28th Nov 20
Biden and Yellen Pushed Gold Price Down to $1,800 - 28th Nov 20
Sheffield Christmas Lights 2020 - Peace Gardens vs 2019 and 2018 - 28th Nov 20
MUST WATCH Before You Waste Money on Buying A New PC Computer System - 27th Nov 20
Gold: Insurance for Prudent Investors, Precious Metals Reduce Risk & Preserve Wealth - 27th Nov 20
How To Spot The End Of An Excess Market Trend Phase - 27th Nov 20
Snow Falling Effect Christmas Lights Outdoor Projector Amazon Review - 27th Nov 20
4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Put off Your Roof Repairs - 27th Nov 20
Further Clues Reveal Gold’s Weakness - 26th Nov 20
Fun Things to Do this Christmas - 26th Nov 20
Industries that Require Secure Messaging Apps - 26th Nov 20
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 25th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday Dell 32 Inch S3220DGF VA Curved Screen Gaming Monitor Bargain Deal! - 25th Nov 20
Biden the Silver Bull - 25th Nov 20
Inflation Warning to the Fed: Be Careful What You Wish For - 25th Nov 20
Financial Stocks Sector ETF Shows Unique Island Setup – What Next? - 25th Nov 20
Herd Immunity or Herd Insolvency: Which Will Affect Gold More? - 25th Nov 20
Stock Market SEASONAL TREND and ELECTION CYCLE - 24th Nov 20
Amazon Black Friday - Karcher K7 FC Pressure Washer Assembly and 1st Use - Is it Any Good? - 24th Nov 20
I Dislike Shallow People And Shallow Market Pullbacks - 24th Nov 20
Small Traders vs. Large Traders vs. Commercials: Who Is Right Most Often? - 24th Nov 20
10 Reasons You Should Trade With a Regulated Broker In UK - 24th Nov 20
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis - 23rd Nov 20
Evolution of the Fed - 23rd Nov 20
Gold and Silver Now and Then - A Comparison - 23rd Nov 20
Nasdaq NQ Has Stalled Above a 1.382 Fibonacci Expansion Range Three Times - 23rd Nov 20
Learn How To Trade Forex Successfully - 23rd Nov 20
Market 2020 vs 2016 and 2012 - 22nd Nov 20
Gold & Silver - Adapting Dynamic Learning Shows Possible Upside Price Rally - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market Short-term Correction - 22nd Nov 20
Stock Market SPY/SPX Island Setups Warn Of A Potential Reversal In This Uptrend - 21st Nov 20
Why Budgies Make Great Pets for Kids - 21st Nov 20
How To Find The Best Dry Dog Food For Your Furry Best Friend?  - 21st Nov 20
The Key to a Successful LGBT Relationship is Matching by Preferences - 21st Nov 20
Stock Market Dow Long-term Trend Analysis - 20th Nov 20
Margin: How Stock Market Investors Are "Reaching for the Stars" - 20th Nov 20
World’s Largest Free-Trade Pact Inspiration for Global Economic Recovery - 20th Nov 20
Dating Sites Break all the Stereotypes About Distance - 20th Nov 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Greek workers plunged into social misery

Politics / Economic Austerity Sep 15, 2011 - 04:40 AM GMT

By: Global_Research

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleRobert Stevens writes: With Greece verging on a default of its debt of around €330 billion, and facing a forced exit from the eurozone, the PASOK government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is escalating its austerity programme against an already pauperised population.

Since its election in October 2009, PASOK has initiated a social counter-revolution, destroying the living standards of the working class.


Unemployment reached an official level of 16 percent (800,000 people) in June and is in reality nearer 30 percent. It is set to rocket further as the government plans to eliminate as many as 120,000 public-sector jobs through sackings or lay-offs on reduced wages for up to a year. On Monday, the government announced that 3,500 employees from 151 public utilities and state enterprises will enter a “labour reserve pool” and will receive a level of pay that is just over the amount paid in unemployment benefit.

On Saturday, Papandreou used the prime minister’s annual speech on the economy at the Thessaloniki Annual International Fair to confirm that thousands of civil servants will lose their jobs and thousands more have their salaries cut. The measures had been decided last week in cabinet, on the basis that Greek access to the latest tranche of the International Monetary Fund‘s (IMF) second €109 billion loan is conditional on ever deeper austerity measures. An International Monetary Fund/European Union (EU) delegation visited Greece, Wednesday, in order to assess whether to authorise the sixth loan payment of €8 billion. Without the loan Greece will immediately default on its debt.

In what has become a daily ritual, leading government figures attempt to assure the financial markets that Greece is not about to go under. On Friday, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was forced to state that Greece would not go bankrupt over the weekend. “The clearest message Greece is sending at this point... is that we are absolutely determined, without taking any momentary political cost into account, to fully meet our obligations to our partners,” he said.

On Monday, Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis confirmed that Greece only had cash in place to last until October.

Nothing is off the table in terms of the destruction of social conditions. During a press conference in Thessaloniki, Papandreou was asked if he intended to propose the abolition of tenure for the civil service during the proposed revision of the Constitution. He replied, “There should be no taboos on what we discuss”.

The austerity measures have fuelled a recession that has seen Gross Domestic Product fall by 7.3 percent in the second quarter of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.

According to a report from the GSEE/Adedy trade union federations, more than one million Greeks will be jobless by the end of the year and official unemployment will reach 26 percent in 2012. This is in a country of just over 11 million people, with a working population of around half that number.

National unemployment grew by 95 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the corresponding period of 2008.

New figures compiled by the Elstat agency found that in the northern region of Western Macedonia, where an estimated 20 percent of small businesses have shut down during the recession, official unemployment is now at 22 percent, up from 14.9 percent in June 2010. Over the past three years there had been “a widening in social inequality and a reduction in social welfare and social rights in general,” it found, with general incomes down 20 percent and pensions reduced by 25 to 50 percent.

According to a recent Reuters report, the Klimaka NGO estimates that the number of homeless people living on the streets in Greece has soared by 25 percent to 17,000 to 20,000 over the past two years. In Athens, the municipality service for the homeless has reported an increase of about 15 to 20 percent.

The government has legislated drastic attacks on the provision of higher education with its draft education reform bill, passed in parliament on August 24. The bill, presented by Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, lays the basis for the privatisation of higher education and the introduction of tuition fees as it allows for UK-style autonomous administration of universities. Free education will be guaranteed only for three years, with fees to be imposed for further years of study. Non-academics and individuals external to universities will be permitted to run institutions that will be assessment-based, with funding based on orientation to industry. Existing national pay scales will be abolished and replaced by productivity-related pay scales.

University budgets have already been cut by 30 percent in 2010 and by another 20 percent in 2011.

Greece is still relying on loan funds from the original €110 billion agreement it signed with the IMF/EU in 2010, but both this and the recent July agreement are in tatters. The Financial Times on Tuesday said of the July IMF/EU loan package, “Less than two months later almost every part of the new package—as well as the previous €110bn bail-out, agreed last May—is on the verge of collapsing.”

The FT noted, “To better understand Greece’s needs and why its second bail-out is under threat, it is more instructive to look at the amount of aid Athens needs to run its day-to-day operations for the next three years: €172bn. Someone—Greek taxpayers, international lenders or private investors—will need to come up with enough cash to fill that hole or Greece will go through a potentially disorganised default.”

Earlier this year the IMF/EU demanded that Athens begin immediate €50 billion euro privatisations. This was readily acceded by PASOK. On the basis of receiving new loans as part of the July agreement, Athens promised to raise €28 billion in sell-offs of state property over the next three years. So far just one privatisation has been completed—a 10 percent stake in Hellenic Telecom was sold to Deutsche Telekom for €390 million.

The failure to meet its privatisation target is largely due to the fact that state assets will be available much more cheaply in the event of a default.

Such is the scale of the Greece sovereign debt crisis and the debt mountain within the eurozone as a whole that these brutal measures cannot begin to resolve the fundamental problems. An article in the New York Times Sunday, “Returning Greece to the Drachma,” warned that in 2008, Greek GDP per capita stood at of $30,400 and “was close to the European Union average.” It contrasted this with GDP per capita in Bulgaria of $14,000 and in Macedonia of $10,700, stating baldly that this “suggests Greece may require living standards to decline by as much as 40 percent to become competitive.”

Recent analysis by the Swiss bank UBS concluded that if Greece exits the euro, each citizen would be hit with a cost of between €9,500 and €11,500 during the first year. This would amount to an unprecedented loss of between 40 and 50 percent of GDP in the first year alone. UBS also found that the population would face a cost of €3,000 and €4,000 per head in subsequent years.

To impose what is required can only be accomplished by authoritarian means. Significantly, the education bill also abolishes the historical Academic Asylum (under which police were prevented from entering academic grounds). This law was originally passed in 1974 followed the brutal murder of student protesters at the Athens polytechnic in 1973 during an uprising against the military junta then in power.

The trade unions are working to ensure that the struggles of the working class do not escalate out of control. Following weekend demonstrations in Thessaloniki by around 25,000 people protesting the government measures, further protests and strikes have been held this week.

On Tuesday, thousands of striking taxi drivers, opposing the “liberalisation” of their profession, demonstrated outside parliament. Civil servants continued strike action in protest at PASOK’s plan to slash their jobs and wages, while tax collectors and customs officials concluded a two-day strike. Refuse collectors began another strike Sunday and are demanding the reinstatement of their co-workers whose short-term contracts have expired.

Commenting on the decline in living standards among tax collectors, Yiannis Grivas, the leader of the POE-DOY tax collectors' union said, “We are talking about cuts to our income of 60 percent over the past one-and-a-half years—30 percent last year and 30 percent this year with the new wage structure. Of course we are obliged to protest.”

Over the past two years the trade unions have held countless numbers of these “protests”, knowing full well they will make no impact on the continual cuts Papandreou has rammed through.

In a statement this week the main GSEE trade union federation said the government’s “labour reserve” measures were, “dead-end policies that will even further enlarge the lists of unemployed and the gap in social cohesion”. The GSEE revealed its essential role as the main prop of the PASOK regime and the facilitator of its austerity programme by adding, “The government, instead of taking measures that 'open' the window to lay-offs, should work to reorganise services and organisations in order to productively exploit all workers in the organisations and bodies of the broader public sector.”

World Socialist Web Site

Barry Grey is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Robert Stevens

© Copyright Robert Stevens , Global Research, 2011

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules