THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE GOVERNMENT-EU-IMF POLICIES ON LABOUR AND EDUCATION IN GREECE
BY THEMIS KOTSIFAKIS, GENERAL SECRETARY OF OLME
The moments we are experiencing are crucial for both education and society. The governments in Greece sacrifice the needs and rights of the majority of the society in order to confront the crisis always at the expense of employees. This is the culmination point of the latest governmental policies and choices leading the country to default. The public debt is the result of usurious loans and the illegal connection between politicians and huge financial interests, which have increased public expenses. This debt serves as a pretext to secure the interests that dictate the policy implemented by the Government, the EU and the IMF. Besides, employees have paid this usurious debt more than once.
Memoranda and their impact on workers, social goods and the public sector
The measures imposed on employees and their impact on our lives form a tragic reality:
- Continuous wage cuts up to 55% for the employees of the public sector
- Continuous pension reductions for all workers, increasing pension age limits, dismantling of our insurance funds
- Dismissals and institutionalization of the labour reserve in the public sector (providing 60% of the basic salary)
- Tragic cuts in social spending (for education, health and social security policies) resulting in a serious degradation of all the social benefits, abolition or mergers of public organizations that provide social work (e.g. hospitals, drug prevention institutions, social organizations in municipalities etc)
- Privatization of public utilities (e.g. water and transportation) electricity and telecommunications being the most financially sound ones.
- Selling out the public wealth to private investors (e.g. sellout of public buildings and mineral wealth. The sellout of vast public land areas to private investors with construction business plans will result in an ecological disaster)
- Abolition of the collective bargaining agreements, establishing individual contracts. Abolition of the workers? compensation and easier ? cheaper layoffs for the employers. Collective agreements and negotiations do not exist in the public sector. In fact, salary issues are banned by law in the public sector, but even in cases where there is provision for working out negotiations; governments refuse to implement the relevant law.
- Continuous, new tax measures which affect mostly workers and the majority of the Greek people, leaving intact the tax evasion of large companies and those who hold the wealth of the country (increasing VAT to 23% for important public goods ? doubling the heating oil price, imposing extra tax on the income retroactively, as of 2010, reducing the minimum tax exempt for the employees from 12.000 ? to 5.000 ? etc.)
- Enactment of a harsh and socially unfair hike for home owners through the electricity bill, which results to a cut of the power if it is not possible to be paid! Please note the high percentage of home ownership in Greece (about 85%).
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