850,000 Workers Unpaid for a Year

workersThe financial crisis has dramatically changed the lives of millions of Greek citizens whose wages have been cut while their purchasing power has gone 30 years back.

According to the annual report of the Labor Institute of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (INE-GSEE), the purchasing power of the current minimum wage stands at 1980s levels. This means that with the current minimum wage, Greeks can buy the same goods and services they purchased in the early 1980s. The report also recorded an impressive number of workers who don’t get paid on time.

The report shows that about 850,000 workers wait up to 12 months to receive their salary. The phenomenon of unpaid employment is widely spread, especially in retail stores with less than five employees.

According to the report, the main characteristics of the labor market in Greece are:

  • Low wages
  • Uninsured work
  • Flexible forms of employment. While in 2009 flexible employment represented 26% of new contracts, in 2013 flexible employment represented 51%.

According to figures, the average real wage in the private sector is 750-800 euros compared to 1,100 euros at the beginning of the economic crisis, recording a 23% decrease.

The crisis also had a dramatic impact on the minimum wage of workers over 25 years old: It dropped to 560 euros per month, while it used to be 751 euros (22% decrease). For workers under 24, minimum wage stands at 510 euros.


  1. While wages are depressed and often never paid at all, most of what affects the cost of living has not. Being paid at 1980s levels while attempting to make ends meet in 2014 indicates something clearly is amiss. The data is incorrect, people have found creative ways to survive six years of austerity and escape the tax collector’s wrath.