Greece raises minimum wage to pre-bailout levels

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A man admires the view while sun rays shine through clouds of the city of Athens as the sun sets behind the Saronic Gulf, on Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Greece announced on Friday an increase in the minimum wage that will restore pay to levels existing before sweeping cuts were imposed more than a decade ago during an international bailout.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the gross minimum monthly salary will go up on April 1 to 780 euros ($830) from 713 euros.

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“I have no illusions. We know that in our country, wages are still low, and they are being squeezed even more by inflation,” said Mitsotakis, whose center-right government faces a general election in the spring.

Under pressure from lenders, Greece imposed severe pay cuts in 2012 during bailout programs funded by a European Union rescue fund and the International Monetary Fund.

As the country was on the brink of bankruptcy, the government took control of wage policy ‒ previously set through labor negotiations ‒ and slashed the minimum monthly pay from 751 euros to 586 euros.

Greek salaries are paid out over 14 installments annually, to provide extra at Christmas, Easter and the summer holidays. Averaged over 12 payments, the new gross minimum monthly pay will rise to 910 euros.