‘They keep you going on false hopes’

Constantine Delioridis is 56 and worked as a truckdriver at the Softex paper goods factory for 26.5 years. The firm’s new owners closed down the delivery department and dismissed the four drivers, all older men. «I need just 500 more social security stamps to get a pension – about two years’ worth,» he said. «I keep knocking on doors but have had no luck. I was told about a job but when the director asked me how long I had been working and how much I wanted, I was told they couldn’t give me the 250,000 (drachmas a month, or 734 euros) I had asked for, even if I signed a paper saying I didn’t want more.» Delioridis said newspaper advertisements for jobs always ask for younger people. «What are we supposed to do? Are we washed up? I’ve been trucking paper for 30 years and now they’re throwing me away like a squeezed lemon. They keep you going on false hopes,» he said. Delioridis has recently gone to various demonstrations by workers dismissed en masse. «What about the politicians? Are they just looking on? It’s only at Christmas that they send us cards. When they called me on my name day this year, I told them I didn’t want their ‘good wishes,’» he added. Even the unions seem to have forgotten their mission, according to Delioridis. «They should be fighting alongside the unemployed. Otherwise, they might find themselves in the same position one day,» he said. «Every day my wife tells me to stop sitting around and to go out and find a job. It’s like a knife in my heart.»

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