EU aid announced for former Greek retail workers

Some 725 former employees laid off in Greece by nine companies should receive EU aid worth €2,949,150, following a Budgets Committee vote in the European Parliament last week.

The workers concerned had all been employed in supermarkets or retail shops, selling household appliances or food, owned by nine different businesses.

Between 2008 and 2015, the retailers suffered from the decreasing purchasing power of Greek households, due to the economic crisis.

According to the Greek National Bank, retail sales dropped by up to 60 percent in parts of the sector. Across the country, 11 regions, including Crete and Central Greece, are affected by the redundancies. 

The aid from an EU fund - the EGF - will cover 60 percent of the total cost. Of those individuals affected, 85.2 percent are above the age of 55, an age at which it may become more difficult to find a new job. 

Five types of measures are planned by the Greek authorities: occupational guidance, training, retraining and vocational training, help with business start-ups, job search allowances and training allowances, and job creation subsidies. 

The draft report by the Committee on Budgets, was adopted by 31 votes to 3, with no abstentions. 

To take effect, the aid has to be approved by the Parliament as a whole on 30th November, as well as by the Council on the same date. 

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund contributes to packages of tailor-made services to help redundant workers find new jobs. Its annual ceiling is €150 million. 

Redundant workers are offered measures such as support for business start-ups, job-search assistance, occupational guidance and various kinds of training. In most cases, national authorities have already started the measures and will have their costs reimbursed by the EU when their applications are finally approved.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly experienced accredited journalist with many years experience of working with the EU institutions. He is an occasional contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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