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Damanaki Says Minimum Wage Cut Seen

DamanakiAfter hoping to quash speculation that the government would again lower Greece’s minimum wagem which has already been cut 22 percent to 586 euros ($777) a month before taxes, the European Union’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said it’s still under consideration.
Damanaki, a former Leftist youth leader who was an instrumental voice in the student uprising against the junta, told the newspaper Eleftherotypia that EU officials still think the minimum wage is too high in Greece.
“With regards to reducing the minimum wage in Greece and adopting new measures, all options are open and it is totally dependent on the implementation of the December agreement,” Damanaki said, referring to an agreement between the government and its international lenders.
“The Commission leaves the issue open and focuses mainly on the need for there to be a dialogue with social partners before any changes.” The commissioner’s comment prompted Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis to insist that there is no discussion about the minimum wage being reduced.
The major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left party SYRIZA, however, said Damanakis’s comments left Prime Minister Antonis Samaras “exposed” and insisted that reducing the Greek minimum wage to the “eastern European” levels are part of the government’s commitments to its lenders via its bailout agreement.
Last week, European Commission Economic and Monetary Affairs spokesman Simon O’Connor stressed that there is no pressure on Greece to reduce the minimum wage again but he added that Athens has agreed to review the way that basic pay is agreed next year, fueling speculation the government is trying to deflect attention and will again cut the wage, which is some 10 times less than what a government minister makes.

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