Willing to do anything, but no takers: One woman’s hard battle for survival

The woman, aged 50, had worked in the sales and orders department for 27 years. She was fired two-and-a-half years ago when the the owner decided to cut down on staff. The multinational companies that were the firm’s main customers were gradually leaving Greece in order to bottle their products in cheaper countries. «When I started out, I looked for work among the firm’s customers whom I knew. Although we were supposed to be on friendly terms, when I went to seek work something changed. «One promised to hire me if I learnt the computer program the company used. I went every day from Dafni to Korydallos and paid 30,000 drachmas to learn the program. «Then I was told the company had not yet decided whether it was going to create the job. «Then I called a former fellow worker who was now production manager at another factory. I asked for a job as a factory worker. ‘Will you be able to cope? You’ve never worked as a laborer,’ he said. «When I said I needed the job and was ready to do anything, he said he would let me know. I never heard from him. «I have two children, my husband and I have to pay the rent. My husband has been working for one company for the last 25 years and earns just over 1,000 euros a month. Battle for survival «Life is a daily battle for survival,» she said. After trying piecework at home making necklaces for a while, her eyes began to hurt and she had to get glasses. «I would have continued if they hadn’t cheated me. I was paid just 50 euros for one-and-a-half month’s work. «As I had to go down to Athens about 10 times as they gave me the work little by little, half of it went on fares. «Then I tried to find something else to do at home, and I found a job sewing military uniforms. «Then that stopped and when I asked why, they told me that the job had been ‘given to Turkey.’ «I could clean houses, look after the aged. But I don’t know how to go about it.»

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