Lies, lies !!! Bloomberg article and the answer of an unemployed greek man

Ψέματα !!!  Άρθρο στο Bloomberg και η απάντηση από έναν Έλληνα άνεργο.

Η μετάφραση στα ελληνικά εδώ.

Migrants Stay Busy as Unemployed Greeks Spurn Menial Jobs

Until a few days ago, the fields around the village of Nea Manolada in the Peloponnese were a hive of activity as thousands of immigrant workers picked the strawberries that southern Greece exports across Europe. Now those fields are quiet.

On April 17 three Greek foremen at one of the strawberry farms fired shotguns at a large group of mostly Bangladeshi strawberry pickers who were demanding several months of back pay. More than 30 migrants were injured, and the supervisors, along with their boss, were arrested. As a result of the highly publicized incident, many foreign companies that import Nea Manolada strawberries have canceled orders, and migrant workers are staying away for fear of being caught without residence permits.

It’s unlikely that unemployed Greeks will seek to replace them in the fields. Although the country has endured a deep recession since 2008 and the most recent data puts January unemployment at 27.2 percent, Greek citizens regard this type of menial, low-paying work as beneath them. “These are not the type of jobs that we do,” says Platon Tinios, an assistant professor at the University of Piraeus who specializes in labor economics. “We abandoned this type of work a long time ago.”

There are just over 500,000 immigrants living in Greece legally, but it’s estimated that there are at least as many undocumented migrants. While illegal immigration has been a concern for years, it’s become a hot-button issue now that there are 1.3 million Greeks out of work. Still, despite claims by some politicians—notably those from the far-right—that migrants are stealing jobs, locals are wary of farm work and other labor-intensive jobs. The strawberry pickers, for example, are paid between €20 and €25 a day ($26 to $33) for around 10 hours’ work. They live mostly in makeshift huts cobbled together from plastic sheeting and pieces of wood, and have no access to toilets.

Lia Liapa has been searching for a job since January, when the home-appliance retailer in Athens where she’d worked for more than three years closed without warning. Even though the 33-year-old is eligible for unemployment benefits of a mere €359 a month, Liapa would not consider working on a strawberry farm. “I would take almost any job, even part-time,” she says. “But not one where I would be exploited, like the migrant workers. Greeks wouldn’t or couldn’t work in these conditions.”

About half of the country’s 10.8 million citizens now live in cities, and most of them have little desire to trade urban living for a rural setting. “It is rare for Greeks to move for work,” says Tinios. Liapa says that while she’s not averse to the idea of leaving Athens, her fiancé cannot quit his job as a policeman: “I would consider moving to the countryside, but it’s difficult for us to leave when my boyfriend has a steady job.”

The bottom line: Even with unemployment at 27.2 percent, most Greeks won’t consider taking on work now performed by illegal migrants.

The answer of a greek unemployed man

Manolada: The new lie

I am sending this letter in response to the lies told by both our nation leaders and the strawberry producers of the area of Ilia in Peloponisos.

Shortly after the incidents with the Pakistanis in Manolada, on 6th July 2013, 125 strawberry producers announced to several medias and sites that they will make applications to the Employment Agency (OAED) in order to hire 4,400 Greek workers with wages 25 € plus 3 € insurance per day.

I have been unemployed for two years and I have a house at Manolada, so I was immediately interested. I telephoned to OAED, who instructed me to call OAED Amaliadas (local agency for Manolada). I kept calling for a rather long time asking if the strawberry producers had applied for workers. Steady reply: “There is nothing”. Some time I was told not to phone all the time. If an application occurred, they would send it to the headquarters in Athens and it would be published on the website.

Meanwhile, I found on the Net some phone numbers of producers and of the corporation YRMINI (for vegetables and fruit). When I called them and said that I was interested in working in the fields as they had requested, I was told that they requested nothing, and when I referred to the 4,400 vacancies through OAED (the Employment Agency) etc. – mind their response, here! – they told me to call the corporation YRMINI (not for vegetables and fruit but ….. for fruit and vegetables!!).

Of course, two or three producers of them asked for NO laborers and knew NOTHING about the 4,400 applications. I called the other corporation YRMINI, (for fruits and vegetables). They told me they knew nothing, the person in charge was off, I should call later or call OAED etc.

It was Thursday  27th June when I last called OAED at Amaliada. There had been no application, they knew nothing about it. On Friday the 28th due to personal obligations I did not do anything. On Saturday the 29th, while reading the news on the Internet, I found out this: “Not even ten Greek workers have responded to the strawberry harvest!”. I got furious, outraged. Next Monday morning, I called OAED (the Employment Agency) at Amaliada and said to an employee “I want to apply for the position of laborer in the harvest of strawberries”.

He still knew nothing! I made him aware of all the above mentioned. I was given another phone number, and then I was given another one, and, in brief, I spoke to three or four people. The last one was a lady who said: “I’ll give you the phone numbers of the corporations so that you can speak directly to them.” So she gave me ….YRMINI’s numbers! “Ma’am, I talked to YRMINI and they told me that there are NO relevant applications!” Laughing sarcastically she said “Well, I’ll give you some producers’ numbers as well.”

 She gave me fourteen names and numbers. I managed to speak to six or seven people, all of them told me piffle and nonsense, such as “There is no need now since the production was over last week” or “Call next year”, or in August, or next October, next February and so on. To my questions “When did you make your application to OAED?”, “Is it possible to declare on June 7th that you WILL apply to OAED for a recruitment of 4,400 laborers, and today, on June 30th,  to claim that the production was over last week?”, the answers were rubbish and nonsense.

What did I figure out? They all kept lying! Never had anyone made a formal application to OAED (the Employment Agency) since an application protocol number has never existed. For, they do not wish to hire anyone Greek, the Pakistanis without insurance seem to be more convenient, the state is completely absent -as it has collapsed- and the producers gave their phone numbers to OAED to give wrong impressions and deceive people.

They are laughing at the unemployed, they are creating false expectations for the people, they are playing the games of the government in order to divide the society as well as the lenders’ games that Greeks are lazy. For, if you read the sites with the announcements of the strawberry producers about the recruitment through OAED, you will find the names of ministers encouraging and willing to promote, of course, this initiative of the strawberry producers. Since June,7th (date of the announcement), no State officials have bothered if the application was made even though they are supposed to be tremendously worried about the unemployment …

Dimitris, 48 yrs, Attica

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