Greece: farms looking for workers, but Greeks don't respond

Ad for peach harvest, 5,000 Albanians and 19 Greeks reply

08 May, 18:18

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS, MAY 8 - In its government programme, the defeated PASOK party promised that Greece would return ''to its origins'' by relaunching its agricultural industry to generate jobs. A plan that would have been doomed to failure according to reports coming from the northern part of the country. A job offer in the sector, although temporary, was completely ignored by young Greeks, a segment of the population currently crushed by unemployment, while thousands of interested foreigners eagerly responded. Two weeks ago, the Young Farmers' Union of Greece posted a job offer on the internet stating that farmers were looking for help with the peach harvest in the Imathia and Pella regions in central Macedonia (northern Greece). Unemployment figures in the area are dramatic, hitting 50% in Pella and 25% in Imathia. The job offer was for 6 days a week at 23 euros per day for 4 months out of the year, including room and board. Anyone who was interested simply had to send a text message to a number provided in the ad to express their interest. Nearly 5,000 people responded to the Union's ad, with 4,885 Albanians (over the years these immigrants have mainly been employed in the agriculture and construction industries) and only 19 Greeks expressing interest, including a retired doctor and an unemployed engineer. ''This year,'' said Nikos Angelopoulos, the President of the Young Farmers' Union of Imathia, while speaking to Protothema, a Greek weekly newspaper, ''we were expecting significant interest from the Greek public due to the crisis and high unemployment levels. But it seems as though Greek people do not want to work in the agricultural industry. We know that this is hard work, but when you don't have a job, you take the work that is available. To satisfy the requests we will probably hire foreign workers from nearby countries, Bulgaria, Albania and FYROM (Greece does not recognise the name Macedonia for the former Yugoslavian republic, editor's note).'' There are around 1,700 farmers in the Imathia region, who need about 5,000 workers for the peach harvest four months out of the year. The news came a few days after the Greek government announced that the unemployment level in the country rose to 22% for the first time. (ANSAmed).

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