More to come under protection umbrella

More to come under protection umbrella

Large sections of the population, such as farmers, the long-term unemployed, and workers who are refusing to provide their labor because they know they won’t get paid, are not included in the umbrella scheme to support the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, the government now appears to acknowledge this problem, and statements concerning solutions are expected to be made by senior officials in the next few days.

One such solution is being sought for the thousands of workers who laid down tools as their employers had not paid them before the restrictions were introduced. They are now ineligible for the 800-euro compensation from the state.

In practice, thousands of employees who used to work at businesses that did not suspend their operations legally during the financial crisis of the 2010s have not had their contracts terminated as the law dictates. Some of them now have new jobs that have stopped due to contract suspensions owing to the coronavirus measures. In the Labor Ministry’s Ergani database, these workers currently appear as active and as having more than one employer, and are therefore excluded from the 800-euro allowance. The ministry’s leadership appears to be aware of the issue and sources say a ministerial decision is set to be issued to address it.

Approximately 470,000 long-term jobless have also fallen through the cracks, as according to a statement by the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), despite the measures announced, those out of work for more than one year remain helpless. GSEE is calling for immediate measures for them, saying it is they who are facing the biggest economic problems, which are now growing due to the pandemic.

Deputy Finance Minister Thodoros Skylakakis addressed that matter on Tuesday on ANT1 TV, saying the government is preparing a package for the long-term unemployed as well as special packages for workers in the primary sector who are now suffering due to the crisis. After all, farmers are another group of citizens hurting from the pandemic measures and who are excluded from the support framework. The same applies to seasonal workers in tourism and food service, who total about 25,000-30,000 across Greece, according to their representatives.

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