Edited By Heather Connolly, Lefteris Kretsos and Craig Phelan
Lefteris Kretsos: The Wind of Austerity in the Sails of Radicalism: The Greek Example
Lefteris Kretsos The Wind of Austerity in the Sails of Radicalism: The Greek Example Introduction The future of organised labour in Greece seems to be at a crossroads, with its future direction vacillating between a potential for either boom or bust. Tough austerity measures and numerous legislative changes implemented in the last three years have resulted in the demise of unions’ institutional power and a significant decline in union density. Unemployment levels reached the unprecedented levels of 28 per cent (65 per cent for those aged 15–24) in June 2013, while according to the Labour Inspectorate Body (LIB) almost 50 per cent of all jobs created in the last two years are precarious in nature.1 The Greek government’s ‘self-destructive dance’ with the Troika of foreign lenders initiated an ongoing tango of social turmoil manifested in numerous demonstrations that sometimes include spontaneous industrial action both at sectoral and local level (Kretsos, 2012). Strikes have become widespread and endemic. According to the author’s calculation, in 2012 there took place an average of 62 strikes per month, while 39 general strikes have taken place since May 2010, the date when the Greek government signed the first memorandum agreement with Troika.2 1 See LIB, press release 12 March 2013. 2 In May 2010 financial support was given to Greece by Troika because of the immi- nent danger that the country could not refinance its outstanding debt and because its budget deficit which after some corrections of the statistics reached a two-digit number as...
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