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2023 03 17T093331Z 1 LYNXMPEJ2G0AZ RTROPTP 4 GREECE ECONOMY CAPITALCONTROLS - Business Express

Greece to increase minimum wage again, before election


ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek government will raise the minimum wage next month, the third rise in more than a year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday, months before its term ends.

Mitsotakis’ conservative government, whose four-year term ends in July, raised the monthly gross minimum wage twice last year to 713 euros as households’ incomes took a hit from persistently high inflation.

It now plans to increase the minimum wage by 9.4% to 780 euros a month from April 1, Mitsotakis said in televised statements.

“We are all aware that salaries in our country are still low, while imported inflation is putting additional pressure on them,” Mitsotakis said.

“Obviously, this new rise will not solve the problem. But it will offer, for sure, a very important relief,” he said, adding that the rise was the maximum the government could offer within the country’s financial capacity.

Since 2020, Greece has spent more than 40 billion euros in subsidies and financial aid for households and businesses that struggled to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and rising energy costs following the war in Ukraine.

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This year, it also introduced an 8% payment rise for pensioners, the first since 2010, when its decade-old debt crisis erupted forcing it to slash pensions until 2018.

The government was planning to call an election in early April. But a train crash on Feb. 28 that killed 57 people and has stirred public outrage and mass protests over deficient safety measures at the Greek railway has pushed back its plans.

The conservative premier has not yet announced a date for the national ballot. Opinion polls show his New Democracy party’s lead over the main opposition, the leftist Syriza party, shrinking following the train disaster.

 

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alex Richardson)

 

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