8/23/10

Ontario cutbacks and wage freeze -- But even the WSJ has its doubts as Greece goes down for the count

Greece is likely the leading test case for public sector austerity, a policy which is beginning to sweep into other countries, and even our own Ontario, with its bed cuts and public sector wage freeze.

So it's interesting to see that even the not so labour-friendly folk at the Wall Street Journal are beginning to express some misgivings.  Here's the lead from their recent story on Greece's growing economic woes:

Greece's deepening recession is driving joblessness steadily higher, feeding discontent with the government's austerity program and dragging on the broader economy.   Greece's gross domestic product contracted by 3.5% in the second quarter from a year earlier, hitting retailers hard and sending unemployment rates to above 12% of the work force, according to data released last week.  Forecasts vary on how bad unemployment could get. The International Monetary Fund predicts the jobless rate will reach 14.8% by 2012. But some labor experts fear that before long, one in five Greek workers could be without jobs.

And, lo and behold, the WSJ almost admits that working people are bearing the brunt of the cuts:

Thanasis Alexopoulos has been relying on his parents for support since leaving university with a degree in German literature two years ago. The 24-year-old from Athens has spent a few stints waiting tables, but mostly has been sending out résumés without success. "I am seriously thinking of leaving Greece, because we need a revolution in this country to have hopes for a better future," he said.   Public-sector workers also are taking the brunt of job losses, as national and local governments pare back to meet stiff austerity targets. George Kiolias, 39, was queued up outside an unemployment office after losing his job—at the unemployment office. Mr. Kiolias used to work at the Athens central headquarters of the Employment and Labor Agency until he was laid off seven months ago.

Prediction:  Working people will also be the main victims of Ontario austerity measures. See here for the full WSJ article.



dallan@cupe.ca

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