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					                   Equality and Teleworking in Greece

Extent of teleworking
There are no official data on how widespread teleworking is in Greece, e.g. the
number of people engaged in teleworking, its growth in recent years, or the type of
enterprises in which it is met with most often. Overall, neither the National Statistical
Service nor other bodies have kept track of the phenomenon of teleworking. There are
indications that the number of teleworkers in Greece is about 20,000 whereas the 1997
European Community report on teleworking sets the figure at 0.46% of the country's
total labour force. However, these data should be taken with a grain of salt, since it is
not known from which official sources they were taken.

Homeworking and Low-paid Work
To date, we do not have any reliable data relevant to homeworking and low-paid
work. There is no reference to them in official statistical data, and unofficial studies of
the issue use definitions and methodologies so dissimilar that no comparisons can be
made between them. Like teleworking, homeworking is regulated in the framework of
Law 2639/1998 regarding “ Regulation of Industrial Relations, Formation of a Labour
Inspection Body and other provisions”. Therefore, as with teleworking, there is no
definition of the concept of homeworking, and there is no special regulatory
framework concerning the details of its conditions of operation.

With regard to low-paid work, the only data at our disposal concern the minimum
wage: minimum salaries and wages have increased during the last 15 years at rates
perceptibly slower than average pay for the various categories of workers. The data
published in the annual reports of the Governor of the Bank of Greece show a
significant time lag in readjustment of minimum wages and salaries. Beginning in
1984, before the beginning of the successive periods of stabilisation policies, we had
the following development up to 1998: real weekly pay of workers in the
manufacturing industry increased during the entire period by about 6.6%, but the
minimum wage fell by 16.65% during the same period. This figure can be taken as an
indirect indication that a large proportion of paid workers fall into the category of low-
paid workers (1999 Annual Report on the Economy and Employment, INE/GSEE-

Gender and Teleworking
With regard to the relation of teleworking to gender, the only comprehensive study
that has been carried out on Greece is contained in the EU publication of DG V
entitled “Teleworking and Gender”, March 1996. For that reason, we attach the report
on Greece as it stands.

Workers with disabilities and Teleworking

Economic Immigrants and Teleworking
According to data from the Labour Force Employment Organisation (OAED) based
on information contained in applications submitted by immigrants for residence
permits in Greece, the majority of immigrants living and working in this country

appear to be unskilled and to be employed mainly in the agricultural sector and to
have a medium level of education; their main country of origin is Albania. An analysis
of the OAED data shows that around 65% of the 352,632 applications for residence
permits were submitted by Albanians. On a gender basis, the data show that the vast
majority of foreign workers are men. Again, these workers are predominantly of
Albanian origin, the percentage of Albanians among men being nearly 72,4%. As to
the educational level of foreign workers, 49% have completed secondary, 37%
primary, and 9% tertiary education. As regards their age, the overwhelming majority
are in the productive age groups, the highest percentage (38% of the total) being in the
30-34 age group. The percentage of women in this age group is around 43.5%. With
regard to skill, 23% are unskilled manual workers or small-scale professional workers.
Seven per cent stated that they work as skilled technicians, and 4% stated that they
work as skilled fishermen, farmers and stock breeders. On the basis of skill during
their last period of employment, most immigrants are concentrated in a narrow
spectrum of occupations, most of which form part of the hidden economy, with all
that entails for conditions of insurance and employment. It should be noted that 58%
of all immigrants, i.e. 205,462, avoided stating their occupation. This can most
probably be explained by the impermanent, occasional and informal character of their
various types of employment. The sectors of economic activity where most
immigrants are concentrated are the construction, textile and ready-to-wear clothing
industries, hotels and restaurants, domestic work and agriculture. The fact that there is
a significant level of undeclared economic activity in these sectors impedes
legalisation procedures, since it is quite difficult to obtain official evidence on the
basis of an immigrant’s most recent job. Efforts to find cheap, uninsured labour are
widespread in Greek society, and this is of decisive importance in the exploitation of
foreign workers. The number of economic immigrants in Greece who have submitted
an application for a White Card work permit to local OAED offices is around
373,000, of whom about 300,000 have been registered and insured under the
insurance funds. Of them, 190,000 have obtained a Social Insurance Foundation
(IKA) insurance stamp card, 90,000 have declared themselves agricultural workers
and have been insured under the Agriculture Insurance Organisation (OGA), and
20,000 have been registered with the Small Businesses and Trades Insurance Fund
(TEVE) as self-employed persons. In comparison, to date only 20,000 foreign workers
have obtained Green Card work permits (which are issued on the basis of evidence of
employment and are renewable) from the OAED. This lack of correspondence shows
the important difficulties experienced by the individuals concerned with regard to the
documentation they must produce in order to prove that they are employed by Greek
employers so that their applications can be accepted. This is because in order to be
issued a Green Card a foreign worker must obtain at least 40 insurance stamps, and to
renew it he must obtain at least 150 such stamps every year. On the other hand, he
must have a health certificate issued before 31.12.98.

Although no studies have been carried out relating teleworking to immigration, it is
fairly safe to conclude or assume from the above brief presentation on residence and
employment of economic immigrants in Greece that economic immigrants are
excluded from the society of new technologies and information. Their level of
education, financial situation, terms and conditions of work, as well as their
occupations, skills and the sectors of economic activity in which they are employed
practically rule out the possibility of linking teleworking with this specific category of

workers in Greece. It should be noted that the statistical data included in this
presentation express order or magnitude.

Workers over the Age of 55 and Teleworking
The unofficial recording of teleworking as a new form of employment and by
extension the lack of data regarding its quantitative and qualitative characteristics
render it impossible to make any correlation between teleworking and age group.
However, with every reservation, the opinion has been put forward that the delay in
introducing new technologies in Greece, along with the low participation of workers
over 45 years of age in vocational training and retraining programmes, are significant
obstacles to familiarisation of people over 50 with the new technologies which in turn
are a basic precondition for their employment as teleworkers. Given that teleworkers
in Greece are mostly employed in highly skilled jobs (“Teleworking and Gender”,
EU DGV, March 1996), the low levels of education in people over 50 (Annual
Labour Force Research, National Statistical Service of Greece), is an additional
obstacle to their being employed as teleworkers.

(Evangelia Soumeli, INE/GSEE-ADEDY)


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