Greece’s largest labor union warned Thursday that it expects unemployment to remain higher than pre-crisis levels for another 20 years, and demanded that international rescue creditors allow the government to reverse minimum wage cuts imposed last year.
The country is in a sixth year of recession, exacerbated by repeated spending cuts demanded by bailout lenders. It already has the highest unemployment rate among the 17 European countries that use the euro currency: It stood at 27.6 percent of the workforce, or 1.38 million people, in May.
A labor research unit of the umbrella union GSEE forecast in a 400-page report issued Thursday that joblessness will reach 29-30 percent at the end of 2013, and a stunning 31.5 percent a year later.
Current unemployment levels are the worst since 1961, GSEE said.
Unions are planning large weekend protests in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, where conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to give an annual speech on the state of the nation’s economy.
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