First reactions to govt's unilateral hike in minimum monthly wage scale mostly negative by business sector

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:26
REUTERS/Phil Noble
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The first reactions from Monday's unilateral increase of private sector minimum monthly wage scales - made by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself during a televised Cabinet meeting - came from both the political opposition, as well as employers' groups.

"The level of wages that an economy and society can and must pay to its working people is not something that is dependent on the desires or intentions of a minister or a government," Hellenic Enterprises of Enterprises board member Christos Ioannou told "N".

"The reality is that the level of wages, including the level of the minimum wage scale, is linked with production and an economy's productivity. This production and productivity materializes through businesses, which create jobs," he added.   

On his part, the president of the country's Economic Chamber of Commerce said all conditions affecting the market should have been taken into account when dealing with private sector wages.

" other words, the total costs facing businesses, such as social insurance contributions and taxes, on profits, an extraordinary contribution, dividends etc."

On his part, Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) president Giorgos Karanikas said his group was absolutely in favor of the abolition of the sub-minimum wage scale, while at the same time expressing concerns over the level of the state-mandated wage increases.

 Along those same lines, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises  (SETE), called for reductions in corporate taxes and social security funds as the best way to funnel more cash into wage-earners' pockets.

 The development comes as a pre-legislated lowering of the annual tax-free threshold (from roughly 8,600 euros currently to around 5,500 euros) is set to come on line on Jan. 1, 2020, which if implemented, would mean that a good portion of the monthly wage increase announced by Tsipras on Monday would return to state coffers.

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