NEWS

2004 targets the unemployed

The Athens 2004 organizing committee yesterday said it would hire nearly 6,000 unemployed people on short-term contracts to cover personnel needs during next August’s Games, in a program co-financed by the Labor Ministry and the European Union. «The organizing committee’s salaried staff currently stands at 1,800 people,» Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki told a press conference. «For the Games to take place, some 6,000 more people will have to be employed… for periods ranging from three to 11 months.» Athens 2004 officials are looking for 5,785 senior high school leavers or university graduates aged 18-40 who are registered as jobless with the state employment agency. The first hirings, on 11-month contracts, will be effective from November, while the organizing committee is offering monthly salaries ranging from 1,000-1,310 euros. The organizing committee also plans to use the services of 60,000 volunteer workers during the Games. 2004 officials say they have received over 110,000 applications so far. Opposition New Democracy immediately attacked yesterday’s announcement as a government vote-grubbing maneuver ahead of national elections due by May. Also yesterday, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki briefed Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga on the course of Greece’s preparations for next August’s Games. «We want to underline, and this is mainly addressed to the government, our great concern and anxiety regarding the high cost of the Games, which has vastly exceeded the budget,» Papariga told journalists after the meeting. «We fear the financial burden will be shifted onto workers’ shoulders after 2004.»