© . People sit in Syntagma Square with the parliament building seen in the background, in Athens, Greece, April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
ATHENS () – Greece will raise the minimum wage for the second time this year from May 1, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, as rising inflation takes its toll on household incomes. “The global rise in inflation is hitting low incomes. From May 1, the base wage will increase by €50 a month to €713 a month,” Mitsotakis said in a televised speech. In January, the conservative government raised gross monthly wages by about 2% to 663 euros, meaning that the new increase will raise the minimum wage by 9.7%. Consumer inflation in Greece rose to 8.9% in March and reached its highest level in 27 years, with skyrocketing energy costs weighing on household incomes. prices increased by 68.3% year-on-year, while electricity prices increased by 79.3%. Thousands took to the streets in Athens earlier this month to protest what they said was a “deepening crisis” of rising prices. The government’s term of office ends in 2023. “The shared pain I see on everyone’s face is the high costs due to the international energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, prices for electricity, at the gas station, at the (supermarket )shelf,” Mitsotakis said. He acknowledged that wage levels are “indeed low in our country”. “The wounds of the ten-year financial crisis have not healed and now the global wave of inflation is hurting the low-income and the unemployed in the first place,” Mitsotakis said. “My decision today is on them.” Since last year, the government has spent some 4.0 billion euros on subsidizing energy bills for households, businesses and farmers dealing with rising electricity and gas bills. This week it said it is also preparing a national plan for a “decisive” intervention in the price of electricity to mitigate the impact on consumers, if the European Union does not act quickly.