Half of Greek Workers Owed Pay

ATHENS – Besides suffering pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, half of Greeks lucky enough to have jobs during a crushing economic crisis that has created a record unemployment rate aren’t getting paid on time and are owed at least a month’s back pay.

Some workers have complained that because of the dire straits that they have to work without being paid for long stretches and can’t complain or face being fired.

A study by the General Confederation of Greek Workers’ (GSEE) Labor Institute (GSEE) found back pay is owed to more than one million workers. “The phenomenon of unpaid workers started to gather pace in the fall of 2012,” the legal adviser to the Labor Ministry, G. Melissaris told Kathimerini. “At the start it was one month, then two, three, even up to a year.”

There have also been reports of companies agreeing contracts with employees in which they agree to pay them every three months rather then monthly and also not paying into the social security system, leaving workers without pension or health benefits.

“Unpaid workers are trapped because they have not been fired and cannot receive unemployment benefit but they are not salaried either because they work without pay or for a small amount of what they are owed,” added Melissaris.