Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attempted to change the main topic of discussion in the domestic political agenda Monday during a visit to the Labor Ministry, where he heralded positive developments in the job market and took another swipe at the judiciary.
Tsipras noted in his speech that the unemployment level fell to 21.7 percent at the end of April compared to 27.2 percent two years earlier. He said that the unemployment rate would fall by 2.5 percentage points per year over the coming years. He also pointed to a recent rise of 9.3 percent in the average wage in the private sector.
The prime minister unveiled plans for a scheme that would provide financial incentives for companies that offer full-time positions to people they currently use as freelancers. He also said the government would spend 100 million euros on a retraining program for some 50,000 people.
The SYRIZA leader also displayed some frustration with the judicial system, arguing that it “often protects employers who do not pay on time, leading to tragic consequences sometimes.” The latter appears to be a reference to the case of a 42-year-old woman from Giannitsa, in northern Greece, who recently committed suicide. It emerged that she had not been paid by her employer for almost 18 months.
However, Tsipras’s comments were dismissed by opposition parties, who accused him of trying to disguise the difficulties of the Greek labor market.
“Mr Tsipras seems to be unaware that more than 50 percent of the hirings in the private sector relate to low wages and flexible forms of employment,” said Evi Christofilopoulou of PASOK.
A survey by the Dianeosis think-tank published Monday indicates that one in two Greeks aged between 18 and 35 says that their main source of income is financial support from parents or other relatives and 41 percent wants to move abroad to find work.