Protests have begun in the city of Thessaloniki as the Greek economy is in its third year of recession and unemployment figures reach record high with no end in sight.
Figures recently announced by the Greek government show that unemployment nationwide at the record high of 15.1% and set to go even higher as nearly 1000 jobs are lost per day in the worst economic crisis the country has seeen since the end of the Second World War..
As the effects of the austerity package implemented at the behest of its creditors bite even deeper the Greek economy has contracted by over 6% in the last year alone. With cuts in the public sector and wages in general the average household has seen a drop in spending power of 40% which has led in turn to job losses in the private sector.
However, according to recent studies carried out by the GSEE (Greece's equivalent of the British TUC) the unemployment rate is likely to top 20 - 22% in 2012, meaning that 1,2000,000 will be looking for work in a nation of 11 million inhabitants..
In protesters outside a local unemployment office in the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki today demanded the extention of benefit payments to all jobless for the entire period of their time out of work. At present jobless Greek can only claim dole if they have had collected 250 national insurance stamps in the previous two years, so ruling out hundreds of thousands who were previously employed in the country's extensive black economy. In addition once benefit payments run out after 12 months those without work can only claim again after two years of full unemployment leaving a question mark over the future of millions of families who may be faced with a future without any tangible source of income.