Greece's once record jobless rate of 27 percent may have dropped seven points since the start of the financial crisis, but nearly six in 10 people are stuck in a market dominated by part-time, on-and-off jobs.
Dead-end, fixed-term jobs are haunting most of Europe's financially
battered south. In recent years, over half of Spain's youth employees
have held temporary contracts, compared to two-fifths in Italy.
But in Greece, state statistics released this week show a troubling
trend: Six in 10 people are stuck in lousy, insecure part-time jobs.
While the trend first exceeded the startling 50-percent mark last year,
experts expected the figure to quickly recede as the Greek economy,
strangled by seven years of budget cuts and austerity reforms, grew by
nearly 2 percent. But it hasn't.
Experts now call "hollowed growth"
"It's the worst possible predicament Greece and Greeks can find
themselves in after nearly a decade of painful sacrifices," says George
Kollias, a labor expert at the General Confederation of Greek Workers.
"The working assumption," said Kollias was that "new jobs would be
created once salaries were sheared and hiring and firing rules were made
easier for employers. But ultimately, this has all backfired, creating a
monster, market jungle where anything goes. Needless to say," he tells
DW, "the most vulnerable have been hit hardest."
In the startling statistics released this week, five in 10 Greek workers
are owed an average of six paychecks by exploitative employers already
paying part-time workers less than €500 a month. Greece has only one
employment inspector for every 3,000 workers. The EU average is one to
Women, meantime, receive 50 percent less than the already appalling
rates, potentially giving Greece one of the biggest gender pay gaps
worldwide. Only South Korea, Japan and Mexico are said to enjoy greater
Yet, officials claim, this is all part of a success story stitched
together by the leftist government of Alexis Tsipras as it moves into
the final stretch of its four-year term in power, while preparing to
break free of austerity and bailouts later this year.
Greece's once harrowing unemployment rate of 27 percent had dipped to
about 20 percent after easing off another point last month. But it still
remains nearly three times higher than the 8.8-percent EU average.
With the government registering each person who works at least two hours
a week as employed, pundits, politicians and people across the country
are up in arms, refuting the declining jobless trend. Private labor
groups and think tanks put the real figure around at least 25 percent