A Greek union says workers are being march to cash machines to give back their wages
It is thought thousands of Greek employees are being forced to hand over part of their pay to employers who were hit hard during the government’s crackdown on tax evasion.
Greece has ordered all salaries to be paid by bank transfer to stamp out tax evasion, which is said to cost the country €16billion a year, and unpaid labour practices.
But the country’s largest trade union, the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), says desperate companies have been clawing back cash from workers after paying their wages each month.
It’s part of a dodgy, under-the-table transaction that employees have agreed to for the sake of securing a job
The union said bosses are using “mafia-style tactics” with private security guards escorting workers to cashpoints to withdraw up to a third of their monthly minimum pay of €600.
Dimitris Kalogeropoulos, secretary of the GSEE, told The Times: “It’s part of a dodgy, under-the-table transaction that employees have agreed to for the sake of securing a job.
“We have had hundreds of complaints, from across the country. They are increasing at an exponential rate.”
One worker said: “Around the first pay day, the company told us that we would all go to the bank.
“A man them emerged to accompany us to the cash dispenser…and once there, he told me in broken Greek to hand over €150 from the €600 of my deposited pay.
“The practice hasn’t stopped. It has been going on for three months now. And every time, I feel like I am being robbed. There must be something that can happen.”
An official investigation is yet to be launched into the allegations with companies reportedly paying employees for overtime in shopping coupons despite Greek law requiring all pay to be made in euros.
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It is thought telecommunications, security and cleaning companies are embroiled in the scandal.
Pano Tsakloglou, a professor at Athens University in Economics and Business, said: “Such practices help companies to avoid social contributions, but the burden for the economy is huge.”
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It comes as Eurozone lenders estimate Greece had a primary surplus between two and three per cent of its gross domestic product last year, much higher than the target set under its bailout programme and more than previously forecast.
The better-than-expected figures could smooth bailout talks, which have stalled for months over fiscal targets and the pension and labour market reforms required by creditors in exchange for the disbursement of loans to pay debt due in July.