From the construction industry to the tourism sector, Greek employers cannot find the staff they need. The government’s solution: longer working hours. A new law enables employers to implement a six-day work week

After 15 years of recession and austerity and three rescue packages that came with tough conditions attached, labor in Greece is no longer strictly regulated.

Collective agreements have been frozen for years, and in many businesses, staff work on the basis of individual employment contracts.

While the 40-hour work week is still officially in place, employers are permitted to require staff to work up to two unpaid hours per day for a limited period in return for more free time.

In theory, this additional work is voluntary. In reality, however, workers in many businesses and workplaces are forced to work longer hours without receiving any form of compensation.

The authorities — which are themselves short-staffed — rarely carry out checks to make sure that labor law is being observed. Making sure that the authorities can do such monitoring tasks effectively is not a priority for the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

But even before the law on the six-day work week comes into force on July 1, Greek workers work longer hours than any other workforce in Europe. With an average 41 hours per week, they work more than all other EU citizens, according to the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat. What’s more, the pay they get for these long hours is low by European standards.

With a minimum monthly wage of €830($887), Greece ranks 15th in the EU in this respect. In terms of purchasing power, it ranks second last in Europe.

  • enkers@sh.itjust.works
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    25 days ago

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re not going to address your labour shortage by making things worse for labourers.

  • zephorah@lemm.ee
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    25 days ago

    Fuck. Don’t give corporate America ideas. It’ll be the next shit spun through this travesty of a Supreme Court.

    • AshMan85@lemmy.world
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      24 days ago

      Why do you think Amazon and Elon musk are arguing with the Supreme Court that the DOL and labor rights are unconstitutional.

    • Rekorse@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      24 days ago

      America already permits forced unpaid overtime, especially on corporate positions. We just hide it better I guess?

      Oh and we also permit slave labor, provided the “slave” is also a criminal of some kind.

      I’m sure there’s other examples but that’s all I have at the moment.

      • zephorah@lemm.ee
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        23 days ago

        Yes they do. Did you know, in healthcare, they can do this with all the nurses in more than half the states? It’s about whether or not your state has rules against it. The ones who have restricted it recognize how dangerous it is for patient safety. Kids have died because of errors made in these scenarios. And that’s just the publicized court case stuff. I’m sure grandma, with a no CPR choice logged in her chart, gets swept under the rug or not noticed as an aberration.

        Hospital administration is cheap so they’ll use it as a standard staffing strategy rather than call an outside, more expensive agency, to fill in, when the state lets them.

        These are usually the same states that do not have lunch break laws.

        So you can get a nurse: post-surgical, ICU, ER, or elsewhere who hasn’t slept in 24hrs. Hasn’t eaten anything in 15hrs. Maybe longer, because these people have kids and go to class. There’s no sleeping between call lights, they have to be attentive for the duration.

        They’re tapped on the shoulder about an hour or two before shift end and told they’re staying. On penalty of abandonment on their license.

        Idk about you, but I can’t read words at about 18hrs. Working tired is like working drunk. This is scary.

        That’s what I want when I’ve been in a bad car accident and need to be hospitalized. My safety in the hands of one person who is in their 21st hour awake and hasn’t eaten for 10-12hrs because nothing that sells food is open at night, including the hospital cafeteria. Even the food prep crowd is screwed on this one.

        Another fun fact. At night, hospitals run with a skeleton crew of docs. Normally, this is fine. You have competent help, read: nurses, who can see and predict the patient having problems and can then call the doc, or page an emergency overhead and get even more people for the patient. Enter mandatory overtime nurse. How well is he going to do on this while essentially working drunk?

        But hey, if it saves corporate a buck then it’s worth playing this game of Russian roulette, amiright?

        • Rekorse@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          23 days ago

          Well I didn’t know about any of that and that’s all awful.

          Makes me upset healing people has been twisted so much. Shocking there’s anyone left in the field under those conditions.

    • PugJesus@lemmy.world
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      25 days ago

      A lot of reasons, but deeply rooted incompetence and graft in the government is a big one. A culture of tax evasion, lack of enforcement of laws on the private sector, and a lack of investment in improving industrial practices (leading to low productivity per hour worked compared to countries that DO keep up-to-date) also contribute.

      • TacticsConsort@yiffit.net
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        25 days ago

        Very informative, thank you.

        You can kind of see how all these problems would compound with each other and make each other worse. Of course people don’t wand to pay taxes to a government that will waste or embezzle their money. But the government does need money to make things happen that might improve the situations of the everyday worker. The government needs competent administrators, lawmakers and judges to properly regulate the private sector, but the private sector can pay a competent person triple what the government pays because the private sector isn’t subject to laws that force them to be ethical.

        Guess there’s a reason that corruption is such a common cause of failed governments.

        • Avid Amoeba@lemmy.ca
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          25 days ago

          Any explanation that doesn’t include the fallout from the Great Recession and the following years of austerity is grossly incomplete at best.

    • xmunk@sh.itjust.works
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      25 days ago

      I am sure the bizarrely numerous Greek billionaires are completely unrelated to their economy being fucked and not a clear sign of how deeply inequal and stratified the Greek economy is! Lots of hyper wealthy and destitute citizens means that everything is working, right?

    • SuddenDownpour@sh.itjust.works
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      25 days ago

      Plenty of different reasons.

      Historically, Greece was a poor country in Europe because it was the periphery of the Ottoman empire and therefore barely received investment.

      Through the 20th century, the country went through pretty corrupt governments (one of them being a dictatorship).

      When they joined the European market, it was already a very unproductive country in relative terms, which tends to force you into remaining in the periphery under normal market conditions; and their most educated citizens saw a very easy and profitable opportunity in just migrating out.

      On top of that, the only sector of the Greek economy that had any sort of strength was tourism, which very rarely provides good wages.

      By the 2007 crisis, they already had a dangerously high debt. Because they were, again, a tourism-focused economy, when the countries that had the most tourists going to Greece entered into recession, Greece’s income plumetted as well, and the debt just soared.

      A little bit later, Greeks elected Syriza, which had simply accepted that they were in a debt spiral that would ultimately crush the country. Syriza’s leaders told the other European governments that their debt had to be renegotiated (annoying for Greece’s creditors, but at least it would be possible for them to pay in some capacity), or they’d leave the Euro-zone and just declare bankruptcy (thus they wouldn’t pay back anything) (terrible for Greece, but perhaps not as terrible as the alternative).

      The rest of Europe told them to fuck off for a variety of reasons (plenty of German newspapers had chosen Greece as their sacrificial lamb, often calling the people of Southern European countries lazy, the Spanish president back then wanted to crush Syriza because they had been associated with a growing Spanish opposition party, generally a lot of them were into fanatical fiscal conservatism).

      Then Syriza chose not to leave the Euro-zone anyway (which provoked Varoufakis to leave the government, out of principle), and just stick to managing the country’s misery. It has only been shit year after shit year for Greece since then, as any possibility of steering into a different direction was shot dead. It’s just a country without hope at this point.

    • Omniraptor@lemm.ee
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      25 days ago

      Varoufakis (Marxist econ professor and also briefly the Greek finance minister) wrote a book about this called “the adults in the room”. He’s biased of course but I respect him a lot

  • Wes4Humanity@lemm.ee
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    25 days ago

    Huh, I wonder if any of those refugees they keep murdering might have been able to do some work?

  • Jeena@piefed.jeena.net
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    25 days ago

    So school and Kindergarten will also be six days? Otherwise what do you do with your young children?

  • dugmeup@lemmy.world
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    24 days ago

    It’s simple, I do work , i get paid. Labour ain’t free.

    You can’t get enough workers, sounds like a supply and demand problem.

    • meseek #2982@lemmy.ca
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      24 days ago

      Clowns have it backwards. Instead of empowering workers to make better things, to receive better education and actually become a force in this modern world, they are empowering employers so they can exploit them more. It’s like their government has a collective IQ of 6 (+/- 3). You just can’t make up this level of stupid.

      • Maggoty@lemmy.world
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        24 days ago

        The productivity of the country is going somewhere. If it’s not coming back to help the people then that tells you everything you need to know about the motives of their leadership.

    • Noedel@lemmy.world
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      24 days ago

      It seems like “what are you going to do, fire me” is an adequate response, since they would be doing themselves more harm than good

    • Mango@lemmy.world
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      24 days ago

      Right? Job interview time: 6 days per week mandatory? Fuck that, I got a side hustle.

    • Rekorse@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      24 days ago

      How’s that any different that salary workers in the US that are exempt from OT protections and are required to work extra hours for free or else be subject to discipline, up to and including losing their job?

      A lot of modern western countries do the same stuff and just hide it better or target groups that won’t speak out.

    • billybong@lemmynsfw.com
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      24 days ago

      It began years ago. That’s why things are so bad in Greece, most of the people able to leave have done already in search of a better life and leaving behind a shortage of skilled labour and labour in general. Meanwhile non economically active people, mostly children and retired still need to be supported somehow and unsurprisingly the public finances are in a poor state.

    • bassad@jlai.lu
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      23 days ago

      it has never stopped, there are more Greeks dispatched in the world than in Greece.

  • Mango@lemmy.world
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    24 days ago

    Fuck them employers. Supply more money if you want your job to be in higher demand. Cut the bums off, and I’m taking about the middle management/CEO trash.

  • AutoTL;DR@lemmings.worldB
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    25 days ago

    This is the best summary I could come up with:


    After 15 years of recession and austerity and three rescue packages that came with tough conditions attached, labor in Greece is no longer strictly regulated.

    Collective agreements have been frozen for years, and in many businesses, staff work on the basis of individual employment contracts.

    Making sure that the authorities can do such monitoring tasks effectively is not a priority for the conservative government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

    Kazakos is in favor of collective wage agreements, which are, however, being increasingly limited by legislation passed by the ruling conservative New Democracy (ND) government.

    The official reason for the introduction of the six-day work week is that there is a shortage of skilled workers on the Greek labor market.

    The new Greek regulation on the six-day work week and the reduction in arbitration proceedings that comes with it are turning back the clock, Kazakos told DW.


    The original article contains 812 words, the summary contains 145 words. Saved 82%. I’m a bot and I’m open source!

  • jordanlund@lemmy.worldM
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    25 days ago

    A 6th day at 40% pay? Yeah, that’s a big “no.”

    OTOH… a 40 hour week, for the same pay, spread across 6 days wouldn’t be awful.

    Mon - 7 hours.
    Tue - 7 hours.
    Wed - 7 hours.
    Thur - 7 hours.
    Fri - 6 hours.
    Sat - 6 hours.

    Or however you want to arrange it:

    Mon - 5 hours.
    Tue - 5 hours.
    Wed - 7 hours.
    Thur - 7 hours.
    Fri - 8 hours.
    Sat - 8 hours.

    Mon - 6 hours.
    Tue - 6 hours.
    Wed - 6 hours.
    Thur - 6 hours.
    Fri - 8 hours.
    Sat - 8 hours.