ATHENS (Reuters) - Part-time workers and the hard-core unemployed have almost tripled during Greece’s debt crisis despite a recent drop in the jobless rate, the largest labour union GSEE said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs in Greece since it tumbled into crisis in 2010. With one in five now unemployed, others have lost almost a third of their incomes due to austerity measures and labour reforms agreed under three international bailouts.
Unemployment, at 21 percent in the second quarter, has decreased but it is still the euro zone’s highest. Unregistered work and part-time contract jobs have increased as businesses are desperate to cut costs.
“The situation in the labour market has improved in the first half of the year ... but a series of quality indices create concerns,” GSEE’s research institute said in a report.
About 267,000 workers are currently in part time work, from 99,000 in 2008, a year before the crisis broke out, the institute said. Apart from long-term unemployed, discouraged jobseekers, who have given up on actively seeking work, have increased to 109,000 from 37,000 in the same period, it added.
More than 645,000 jobs were lost in agriculture, manufacturing, construction and the retail sector during the crisis, it said. A small rise in employment is currently registered in the sectors of energy, tourism and administration.
A deregulation of the labour market, which also included zero-hour contracts had led to lower wages, it said.
With an increase in flexible forms of work, about 48 percent of jobs created in the first seven months of the year were part-time, GSEE said, adding that the average monthly salary of part-time workers is 397 euros.
“This development will have a serious macroeconomic impact, since it operates essentially as an austerity mechanism by stealth,” the institute said.
“Unemployment, at its current pace of easing, will fall under 10 percent only in the 2030s,” it said.
Greece’s leftist-led government has promised to create more jobs and cut the jobless rate by 2.5 percentage points each year to help boost economic growth and end bailout supervision.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou, editing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Richard Balmforth