Ten years after the debt crisis, the Greeks are struggling to turn the pages

Demonstration by hospital staff in Athens on April 22, 2021.

In front of the dire finance ministry from Greece’s parliament, Giorgia Oikonomopoulou has shed her hair and her red gloves, which have become a symbol of her fierce struggle to get her job. In 2013, the housekeeper learns from television news that he is “trimming”Like 595 other associates in the Ministry of Economy, are hired in tax and customs offices across the country.

The Conservative government of Antonis Samaras, at the time, stated the country’s donors (European Union, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) to meet the need. According to the 237 billion euro second aid plan for Greece, signed on 21 February 2012 between Athens and its creditors (removing 107 billion euros of public debt and 130 billion euros in debt held by private creditors), 15,000 civil Servant posts must be abolished.

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“They first attacked the weakest, us, the least educated women. They must have thought we were not going to protest.” Misses half-century, still gone. After September 2013, about 500 employees receive 75% of their salary. “At that time I was earning only 300 euros and I was trying to save on everything: food, electricity, heating …”Georgia whispers.

However, she doesn’t give up. She performs day after day with her colleagues, pasting posters, interacting with passersby, giving interviews to international media. He even receives a letter from the English director Ken Loach, who is impressed by his story. With the election of the Radical Left (Siriza) leader Alexis Tsipras in January 2015, all Safai women were reappointed. “He kept this promise, he supported us all these years of mobilization. It was a relief for us women in the age group of 40 to 50 years, as it was impossible to get hired again! , Georgia Note.

“Country for Tourists”

Today at the age of 55, she has grown into the rank of Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and receives 960 Euro monthly net. He also resumed his studies of administrative law at the university. “My personal situation has improved, but taxes have risen at the same time, real estate and energy prices are exploding … I don’t think the Greeks feel like they are out of economic trouble. Especially since exiting the tunnel, we were hit by the pandemic” of Covid-19, she notes.

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