As I mentioned on Sunday, the Greek Parliament agreed to a bailout deal that exchanges funds from Europe for new austerity measures that will sink the economy even further. Via David Atkins, Talos has some of the specifics of what this will entail for the Greek people:
Greece is already a “labor wasteland” where jobs are near impossible to find and when they materialize they are more likely to be “black”, uninsured, well below the poverty threshold.Yet the new loan deals mandate among other things:
The dismantling of collective bargaining and the annulment of the current collective agreement. “Labor law” in Greece will not be a meaningful subject any more
Across the board cuts in nearly all of private sector wages and salaries to the tune of 22%. This includes the minimum wage (which will be now around 580 euros net, and under 500 euros if you are a new entrant into the job market). This affects all sort of benefits i.e. the unemployment benefit which is reduced to 369 from 461 euros. This in a country where the cost of living in its capital is still higher than that of Berlin.
Immediate elimination of rent subsidies for the poorer, cuts in pensions, mass privatization at fire sale prices (including the Athens and Thessaloniki water companies, and the lottery/football pool company, whose market price right now is at two years profits) etc. This on top of galloping social destruction, a health system that is going to the dogs (the decay of which is producing even stronger superbugs) and public services being destroyed or annihilated.
At the same time whatever debt will remain – and it will be huge and unsustainable anyway – will now be under English law, and not Greek law, meaning that the terms of the loans will be draconian.
That’s the context for the burning of over 40 buildings in Athens last night, among other rioting.
The final vote was 199-74, reflecting a fairly substantial dissent from the bill, considering that there’s a unity government whose coalition represents most of the 300 members of Parliament. Thirty-seven of those coalition members rejected the bill, with another six voting against portions of it. All 43 were expelled from the ruling coalition after the vote. That’s roughly 1 out of every 6 members of the coalition.
The next step is for Eurozone finance ministers to formally agree to the bailout, after the ruling coalition signs documents in Brussels that the measures passed last night are irreversible. The bailout funds, if Germany gets their way, would get held in a separate account only for debt service. You might as well have the Eurozone leaders deliver the cash directly to the European banking system. They don’t even want to use Greece as a pass-through.
The social unrest will not end, and nor will the suffering for the Greek people.