While we are awaiting a major heatwave in Greece, we are surrounded by piles of rubbish, since garbage collectors have decided to go on strike. In fact, they have been on strike for some time and, following days of protests, rallies, occupation of public car parks and camping outside city halls, yesterday they voted to carry on, unhappy with the terms of their employment. The government, as usual, is dithering, wavering between the country’s needs and the demands from the Troika, while every decision taken is delayed by the usual bureaucratic tape.
As neighborhoods are being asphyxiated by piles of bin bags, some cities – such as Thessaloniki, which boasts a very active mayor – are looking to hire private firms to do the job, something which is not looked upon kindly by the syndicates. The impact on tourism is incalculable.
Meanwhile, citizens already suffering from heatstroke and inhalation of toxic fumes are to be dealt another major blow: taxes for employees, farmers, pensioners and the self-employed are due another whopping rise, since they will now be calculated in a different, ‘new’ way. Speaking of which, the government has taken to inventing creatively named ways of fleecing the population – such as the ‘claw-back’ and the ‘solidarity tax’. I leave it to your imagination to make out their meaning.
This is the result of demands for more and more money from our lenders, which will go to paying back what we owe. But the well is running dry, and the economy, instead of being revived, is being driven underground. I know a lot of people who already use barter – the dentist putting fillings in the plumber’s teeth in return for having the shower fixed, and so on. Back to basics, I suppose…