unemployment

The EU and the attack on European workers’ wages

Η ΕΕ και η επίθεση στους μισθούς των Ευρωπαίων εργαζομένων

Five years after the Wall Street crash of September 2008, figures compiled by Britain’s House of Commons Library on wage rates in the 27-member European Union show that workers’ living standards have been thrown into sharp reverse.

The statistics belie claims that the euro zone has “turned the corner” with a modest rise in growth over the last quarter. The situation is particularly acute in those countries that have been subject to the dictates of the “troika”—the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—which has overseen massive cuts in social spending as demanded by the international banks.

In Greece, wages have fallen by 11.3 percent since the autumn of 2010 [EPAM-International’s comment: the actual wage reduction is much bigger!]. The UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies has (more…)

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 (more…)

Health effects of Greece’s austerity measures are “worse than imagined,” report researchers

Sophie Arie
London

Greece’s severe economic crisis has had a substantially negative effect on public health that provides a warning for other countries faced with similar challenges, the authors of a report published in the American Journal of Public Health have said.1

Researchers at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and the University of New Mexico in the United States said that
a sharp deterioration in major indicators of public health had accompanied the worsening of the Greek economy over recent years, as incomes fell and unemployment soared. Suicide and murder rates rose by 22.7% and 27.6%, respectively, between 2007 and 2009, while deaths from infectious diseases rose by 13.2% in the same period. Sharp increases in substance abuse and mental health problems were also recorded.

The authors said that evidence from Greece and from previous economic crises elsewhere implied that reduced household incomes and purchasing power, as a result of unemployment and cuts in real wages, could lead to reduced health expenditure by households, lower use of private health services, and greater use of public sector services, especially those that are free or low cost at the point of delivery.

In Greece, these trends have happened at a time when government spending on healthcare has been slashed. Compared with 2010, use of public inpatient and primary care services in 2011 rose by 6.2% and 21.9%, respectively. Meanwhile, government health spending was cut by 23.7% between 2009 and 2011, with many services being privatised and staff levels in the public sector being cut dramatically.

Elias Kondilis of Aristotle University, lead author of the study, said: “We were expecting that these austerity policies would negatively affect health services and health outcomes, but the results were much worse than we imagined.”

The authors said their findings indicated that austerity policies were likely to cause deteriorating health conditions elsewhere in Europe and also in the US. They argued that past resistance to pressure from international financial institutions to reduce public investment in health services in Latin American countries—such as Argentina, Venezuela, and Ecuador—had been followed by improvements in health and economic indicators that may otherwise not have occurred.

1 Kondilis E, Giannakopoulos E, Gavana M, Ierodiakonou I, Waitzkin H, Benos A. Economic
crisis, restrictive policies, and the population’s health and health care: the Greek case.

Am J Public Health 2013, doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301126.

Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2740

© BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 2013

“Troika”-Mandated Austerity and the Emerging Health Care Crisis in Greece: An Open Letter to the Greek Government

 

“Troika”-Mandated Austerity and the Emerging Health Care Crisis in Greece: An Open Letter to the Greek Government

 

To the Prime Minister of Greece and President of New Democracy Party, Mr. Antonis Samaras

To the President of PASOK, Mr. Evangelos Venizelos

To the President of the Democratic Left, Mr. Fotis Kouvelis,

To the Minister of Health, Mr. Andreas Lykouretzos,

This letter is an attempt by Greek scholars and physicians to express their concern regarding the current, dire state of Health Care services in Greece.

Our country has fallen into a dismal state, and it is constantly challenged by extrinsic and intrinsic pressures, while the economic and social climate deteriorates further day by day. The Greek government, in total obedience to the irrational demands of the Troika, focuses on the obligations of the citizens towards the state, and seems to forget or ignore its own obligations towards its citizens. The Government has imposed a brutal and self-defeating fiscal austerity; in a confiscatory manner, it tries to collect extra revenue from an already impoverished and afflicted populace, while it neglects its main role, as specified by the Constitution: The Protection of the Rights and the Welfare of the Citizen Body.

In three short years, governments comprised of the current coalition parties have managed to reduce the country’s GDP by 25%, leading Greece to the deepest and longest-lasting economic depression in the history of the modern Western world. During the same period of time, the public debt expanded from 109% GDP to 170% GDP, unemployment rose from 8% to 27%, and youth unemployment now holds the world record at 58%.  Incomes have been reduced by more than 40%, leading to a record number of families and individuals living below the poverty line. It is worth noting that the famous “haircut” (PSI), presented by the Government as a notable achievement, ultimately increased the public debt, while raiding the reserves of pension funds, reserves that were gathered painstakingly by the contributions of workers and pensioners.  (more…)

Portraits of Greece in Crisis: a new documentary project

By Tamara van der Putten On March 28, 2013

Post image for Portraits of Greece in Crisis: a new documentary projectPortraits of Greece in Crisis is a new series of documentaries about the Greek crisis created to fulfill the need for an alternative crisis narrative.

 

Press release via PortraitsofGreeceinCrisis.com

Portraits of Greece in Crisis is a series of independent and self-funded mini-documentaries about the Greek crisis. An ongoing project that was created in order to fulfill the need for an alternative crisis narrative, against an unprecedented big media propaganda.

Portraits of people through the daily routine of which the Greek crisis is being described, portraits of institutions that are collapsing and of conceptions that are being distorted during a crisis that is economic, political, cultural, moral and social.

In essence, Portraits of Greece in Crisis is a project that films the experiment executed upon Greece; a registration of today, that tomorrow will turn into a historical documentation of the crisis.

Five portraits have been released, until now. They describe the issues of unemployment, social state’s failure, resurgent fascism and xenophobia, as long as citizens’ efforts for self-organization against collapsing constitutions. The project aims to cover as widely as possible crisis’ spectrum in every corner of Greece and beyond.

The portrait “Kialo Amadu, minor immigrant in Athens”, one of the most popular films of the project, approaches the particularly sensitive issue of racism in a country which is forced into poverty. Kialo talks about his life in Athens and describes the real “danger” of a society, where compassion and solidarity are replaced by racism and xenophobia. (more…)

The EU Crisis Pocket Guide

2012 edition

6 November 2012

A useful pocket guide on how a crisis made in Wall Street was made worse by EU policies, how it has enriched the 1% to the detriment of the 99%, and outlining some possible solutions that prioritise people and the environment above corporate profits.

The EU Crisis Pocket Guide has been updated in English (November 2012)

Now also in Italian!

Click here for the Spanish version

Contents

  • How a private debt crisis was turned into a public debt crisis and an excuse for austerity
  • The way the rich and bankers benefited while the vast majority lost out
  • The devastating social consequences of austerity
  • The European Union’s response to the crisis: more austerity, more privatisation, less democracy
  • Map of resistance across the EU in 2012
  • Ten alternatives put forward by civil society groups to put people and the environment before corporate greed
  • Resources for further information

  (more…)

‘Screw the Troika’: Tens of thousands protest austerity measures across Portugal

Published time: March 03, 2013 00:55
People gather against government austerity policies at Lisbon's main square Praca do Comercio March 2, 2013 (Reuters / Hugo Correia)

People gather against government austerity policies at Lisbon’s main square Praca do Comercio March 2, 2013 (Reuters / Hugo Correia)

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streetsof Portuguese cities protesting austerity measures that the government hopes will help to avoid the bailout and lift the country out of recession.

Protests, coordinated through social media by nonpartisan groups, have swept across the country with the biggest mass demonstration taking place in the capital Lisbon.

Over 200,000 protesters filled a Lisbon boulevard leading to the Finance Ministry. Many of them were carrying placards and chanting “It’s time for the government to go!” and “Screw the Troika, we want our lives back,” referring to the lenders from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

People in the crowd were singing “Grandola”, a protest song from the 1974 “Carnation revolution” which ousted the fascist dictator Antonio Salazar and brought the end of the military rule in the country. During the past few week activists have sung the song to heckle government ministers making public speeches. (more…)