This article by Therese Larsson, SvD, is simply too great not to share with all you non-Swedish speakers out there. Since I can’t do my official translation work for the moment, and since it’s much easier for me to translate from Swedish into English anyways, I just have to do it.
"It is close to mind-numbing. Have you, like I, rolled your eyes when hearing that i.e. Greek radio talk show hosts or hairdressers have had such physically difficult careers that the HAVE TO retire at the age of 50? Were you’re surprised to hear that doctors, lawyers, and other executives in Greece in principle don’t pay taxes at all? In this case you should continue reading right about now, because there are much worse examples of behaviors contributing to the Greek crisis.
I thought I had heard everything, but the German newspaper Handelsblatt put together a list this week of Greek work regulations, some so generous you can barely believe it. Of course, in true German manner, the paper has valid references to all their claims. Here are a few of the highlights:
• The ride to and from work by bus drivers in Athens counts as work hours and whoever makes it to work in time gets a bonus of 310 Euros.
• Message boys at the various ministries gets a bonus of 290 Euros a month – for carrying files and folders.
• In several state-owned companies the employers receive and bonus for using the copy machine, and whoever can use a computer gets a bonus – here as well, whoever can make it to work in time gets an extra reward.
• Judges gets extra money if they treat an errand fast.
•At the ministry of culture, some employees get extra money for clothing.
And here are my two personal favorites:
• At the partially privatized phone company OTE you can recieve 25 Euros a month for ”warming up of service car.” According to Handelsblatt the union said Monday that the bonus has been renounced, however the employees now demand that the bonus is reinstated.
• The state-owned railroad company gives their drivers (who earn up to 7000 Euros a month) a bonus for each kilometer that they drive. They also receive over 5 000 Euros extra each year for washing their hands (25 percent of all train personnel receives this).
One can only hope that these bonuses disappear with the savings package that was delivered earlier this week."