GSEE presses hard for fair wealth distribution

The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) yesterday called on the government to prioritize support for low-paid workers and pensioners and the unemployed, ahead of the expected announcement of a package of social welfare measures next week. «We do not understand the voices calling for a restriction of support. No one has asked for charity; it is rather the obligation of the State to support vulnerable social groups,» said GSEE Chairman Christos Polyzogopoulos after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The meeting, called in view of the traditional prime-ministerial keynote economic policy speech at Thessaloniki’s International Trade Fair, was also attended by the ministers of economy and finance, Nikos Christodoulakis and of labor, Dimitris Reppas. Polyzogopoulos said GSEE wants policies that will support growth and employment, protect purchasing power from inflation and profiteering, and uphold labor laws. «We want a share of the increased wealth, which in our country is rising at 4 percent annually,» he said later. Reppas said the government will soon announce new initiatives for boosting employment further, noting that social spending is on a steady rise. The package of measures due for announcement is said to include increases for low-paid pensioners, salaries in the public sector, benefits for the unemployed and people with special needs, and a monthly grant to students attending college away from home.