BY Nagia Nikolaou
Just a few days after the creation of the new Government coalition a strong police contingent intervened in the Hellenic Steel Industry after nine months of workers’ strike, on orders of the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Now, after the “strong negotiations” with Troika the “Greek troika” is ready to announce new measures at the end of August in order to achieve 11.5 billions Euros in budget cuts in 2013 and 2014. This means further cuts to civil servants’ salaries and pensions, thereby, ending the 13th and 14th monthly payments, dismissals in public sector and a rise in the retirement age from 65 to 67.
According to ELSTAT officially (Greek statistics office) unemployment climbed to 23.1% (1.1 million) in May from 22.6% in April. The director of Labour Institute of General Confereration Savvas Robolis estimates official unemployment at 28% to 29% and a recession at 5% to 5.5% for 2013 as a result of the new austerity measures.
At the same time, the Government coalition has already started the sale of public assets. Two weeks ago, announced by the central bank, there was a ‘deal’ between Piraeus Bank and Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATEBank).
Piraeus Bank will absorb the healthy part of the state-owned ATEBank for 95 millions Euros (15.74bn euros deposits, subsidiaries ATE Aedak, ATEBank Romania, AIKBanca, shares in FBBank etc). A private bank (Piraeus Bank) that has been refinanced by the Greek state just 2 months ago (the first dose was 4.7 bn Euros) absorbs a Greek state bank (ATEBank) that is undoubtedly healthier can only be described as a scandal.
The Greek Government has already announced the sale of Hellenic Post, Hellenic Postbank and Hellenic Vehicle Industry. The privatization plan also includes water utility companies, state natural gas company, Public Power Corporation, railway company, airports and ports all over Greece (almost all the public enterprises and infrastructure).
The trade unions of ATEBank and Hellenic Postbank are already on strike and are campaigning against the sale. The Federation of Hellenic Post is planning further protests after the announcement. The first large scale protest of trade unions is scheduled for Thesaloniki International Fair on 7, 8 and 9 of September.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.