THE Greek Statistics Authority (EL.STAT.) has announced that the official unemployment rate for last March rose to 21.9 per cent, a huge increase compared to the 15.7 per cent rate of March 2011. Last February’s rate was 21.4 per cent.
These figures mean that some 1.1 million workers are officially out of work today in Greece. In the 15-24 age group unemployment stands at 52.8 per cent, a new record, while in the 25-34 age group it soared to 29.8 per cent.
Now the Greek Finance Ministry has issued a directive to all tax offices that they should directly subtract the new high income tax rates from workers’ wages and pensions when the annual tax exceeds 3,000 euros!
In an unprecedented action, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) whom opinion polls show to be the likely winner of the June 17 general election, spoke last Wednesday night to a special gathering of the ambassadors of the G20 countries to Athens.
Although journalists were allowed to hear Tsiparas’ speech, they were told that the subsequent discussion with the ambassadors was to be behind closed doors.
In his speech, Tsipras repeated SYRIZA’s foreign policy programme which supports Greece’s membership of NATO and other imperialist alliances.
He insisted that SYRIZA’s National Recovery Plan ‘is not an exit programme from the EC and the Eurozone’, on the contrary, he emphasised, it is ‘a programme that contributes to the big changes needed in the EC’.
Tsipras spoke for ‘peaceful and friendly relations between peoples’. He also spoke for a ‘nuclear free eastern Mediterranean’ but said not a word about Israel’s nuclear weapons, nor about the US nuclear weapons stored on military bases in Greece.
Meanwhile, the fascist gangs of the Golden Dawn party continue their attacks.
At a TV live talk show on Wednesday morning, the Golden Dawn representative Ilias Kasidiaris threw a glass of water at the SYRIZA representative and then hit the KKE (Greek Communist Party) representative in the face.
Kasidiaris is due to stand trial on Monday accused of being an accomplice in the mugging of a student in 2007. He has been charged with driving the car that carried five men who beat and stabbed a student outside the Athens University halls of residence and stole the victim’s identity card.