Tag Archives: Greece minimum wage

Saving private wages: heroic act or con trick?

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

If you walk along Adrianou Street, which runs alongside the Acropolis, in Athens you can brighten up your stroll by taking in one of the games of three card monte that often takes place there. It’s entertaining to watch the dealers work with their shills to display wonderful sleight of hand and mesmerizing misdirection as they fool punters. But if confidence tricks are your thing, you might be better off walking a few hundred meters up the road and visiting Parliament because the street hustlers have nothing on Greece’s politicians

Within minutes of PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and Popular Orthodox Rally’s  (LAOS) Giorgos Karatzaferis completing their make-or-break talks with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on Sunday night, statements about battles being fought and rights being salvaged were launched into the Athens night.

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Namaste Greece

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

“Greece won’t become India,” Prime Minister George Papandreou apparently told members of his beleaguered PASOK party this week. Papandreou struck this note of defiance after the troika team monitoring Greece’s public finances caught the government off guard by asking for the minimum wage to be lowered or for collective contracts to be scrapped.

Papandreou’s comment prompted much mirth about him once claiming Greece should become the Denmark of the South and now having to fight to keep his country from becoming the India of the North. Others pointed out that, indeed, there was no chance of Greece becoming India because given the current deep recession, structural failures and stifling austerity measures, there is no way it could match the subcontinent’s dynamism — whereas the Greek economy is expected to shrink by 5.5 percent this year, India is growing at a rate of more than 7 percent.

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