NEWS

Discrimination: ‘No one wants anyone of 38-40’

The 53-year-old man was sales manager in a large firm and was dismissed about a year ago. He does not want to have his name published for fear it might ruin whatever slim chances he still has of finding another job. The company where he worked was bought by the State in 1984 to be «improved» and then sold to the private sector again in 1998 in order to be «improved again.» If state «improvement» meant recruiting people as favors, private «improvement» resulted in mass dismissals and the transfer of production to cheaper Third World countries. «If I was 35, I’d find a job. But at my age there is widespread discrimination. I read the OAED announcements and no one wants anyone aged over 38-40. I went to one company and they told me I could work without going on the payroll, as a freelance, and without benefits. Another company owner said that he renewed his staff every four of five years with young people. But a person acquires greater experience gradually through life, and moves up to more responsible jobs. There are very few managerial positions and they give them to youngsters who come pouring out of the universities with marketing degrees. I can’t hope for another sales management job, but I want to have conditions that will allow me to get a decent pension,» he said. He referred to the late Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou’s statement that the three pillars of democracy were the Parliament, local government and the union movement. «All just empty words. Although I respect (General Confederation of Greek Labor [GSEE] leader) Christos Polyzogopoulos, GSEE does not have what it takes to deal with this difficult category of unemployed. I believed OAED would help but it just hands out unemployment benefits. How can I support my family on 307 euros per month with a rented home? We are too young to be pensioned off and too old to work. At the worst time of our lives. What are we supposed to do? Just die?» «I heard that there were some new programs in my category and went to OAED before Easter, but they said: ‘Why are you here? The programs are for employers.» Yes, but I have to go and find an employer and tell him that if he hires me, he won’t have to pay my social security becaude OAED will pay it. I’ll work for him without being a burden to him.» «They told me to come back after Easter. I’ve been back repeatedly to find out when the programs come out, and I am still waiting. «Are these the state services that are supposed to be helping the unemployed?»