Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unemployment crisis in Thessaloniki

According to a study recently carried out by the Workers Centre in Thessaloniki (Greece's second largest city and home to over a million inhabitants) one in four is unemployed, however in some trades such as construction that figure is nearly 70%.

In terms of everyday life this means that the city is being torn apart by the sudden loss in income suffered by many families with some estimates putting the drop as high as 40%. This means that even those who have a job and an income are loathed to spend money on anything other than the basics in the fear that they too may lose their job in the near future. As you can imagine the sudden shrinkage in economic activity has proved to be disasterous with For Sale and To Let signs sprouting up even in the city's most exclusive shopping areas. In less favoured districts the number of emply or closing businesses is enormous, in some cases outnumbering those who struggle on.

Not that much of this story makes it onto the nation's news bulletins, instead the state run channels and the pro - government sections of the press are more interested in presenting the official line that such changes are an inevitable in order to bring growth and development to Greece. This is in stark contrast to the message in the media abroad which is more and more convinced that the current austerity measures are doomed to failure as government income projections time and time again turn out to be unrealistic.

The current policy seems less like a rescue package than scorched earth economics which leave in their wake nothing but ruin and poverty.

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