Almost 1.5 million Greeks are trapped in a poverty spiral, with considerably low salaries and pensions, as state statistics reveal.
The crisis has left its indelible mark on the lives of workers, as almost one-third of workers in the private sector are in flexible forms of employment and have to survive on an average gross monthly salary of just 383 euros.
About 40 percent of retirees have a main pension of less than 500 euros, and when disability and death allowances are excluded, 30.7 percent of pensioners live on main pensions that average 372 euros per month.
The private sector salary data for October 2017 – based on employers’ declarations to the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) – published on Thursday, and the statistics of the Labor Ministry’s Helios database for benefits paint a bleak picture of the Greek economy.
The average salary of the 2,177,086 salary workers in the private sector is 920 euros, while the average income for recipients of a main and an auxiliary pension is 895.53 euros, showing that the internal devaluation of salaries has been considerably greater than the depreciation of pensions during the years of the crisis.
Employer declarations reveal that 29.9 percent of salary workers live on 382.91 euros on average. The average rate for full-time employment in enterprises came to 1,148.27 euros, at a time when fewer than three-quarters of employees (1,538,934) work full time.
Pension statistics for February 2018 showed that out of the 1,988,289 allowances issued to retirees because of age, almost two-thirds (1,318,797) were below the 1,000-euro level in gross terms. Main social security benefits amount to 723 euros per month, with auxiliary handouts averaging 171.86 euros, taking the monthly average sum to just 895.53 euros gross.
Notably, almost a quarter (23.82 percent) of all pensioners – i.e. 614,787 benefit recipients – are below 65 years of age, according to the ministry’s database.