Greece’s 3.94 Euros Minimum Wage Among EU’s Lowest

FILE - A paper at the entrance of Athens' central railway station reads "strike" in Greek and English, in Athens, Friday, June 8, 2018. Train and suburban railway workers staged a 24-hour strike against the privatization of the company. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

With Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras moving to restore the minimum wage to pre-crisis levels – four years after he said he would – the 3.94 euros ($4.49) per hour is among the lowest in the European Union.

A study by the German think tank Wirtschafts-und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI) showed Greece was just above Bulgaria at 3.28 euros ($3.74) and the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia among the 28 countries in the bloc and below the central European averages.

The study compared wages based on purchasing power, with the hourly minimum wage in Australia of 9.47 euros ($10.80,), six times higher than the average in Russia, which is a lowly 1.64 euros ($1.87) per hour.

Greece’s minimum wage is now more reflective of economics ailing for years, such as Brazil and Argentina, compounded by a relatively high cost for goods and foods and fuel and as Tsipras backed away from vows to raise it after he took power and has only now moved to do so in an election year.

Spain is planning its biggest increase in 40 years, a 22 percent jump, while France is also going to bring a hike after President Emmanuel Macron bowed to the “yellow vests” riots by saying he would also hike the minimum.

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