Greek grocery store chain fires supervisor for asking staff to be cheerful

ATHENS, March 8 (Xinhua) — A regional sales manager of Greek supermarket chain “My Market”, who asked employees to smile, because they should be grateful they have a job in times of crisis and are paid with 300 euros (336.7 U.S. dollars) per month, was fired, announced the company on Friday.

The manager’s letter to the staff caused a stir in social media and the press. A spokesperson of the firm confirmed the removal of the particular director. “She acted alone, we had to remove her.”

According to the letter which was reproduced by Greek media earlier this week, the former manager was trying to force employees to be cheerful and positive all the time, despite the circumstances or the fact that they are underpaid.

The Greek government raised in January the minimum monthly wage to 650 euros from 586 euros for full time employees. It used to be 751 euros until 2012 when it was reduced as part of austerity measures introduced to tackle the Greek debt crisis.

During the crisis many companies hired part time employees on average salaries of 300 euros per month to save costs.

In a style which was strongly criticized as unacceptable, the former manager called employees to be pleasant and smiling, arguing that they do have a job, while unemployment rates are still high, and they are paid on time.

The latest figures from Greece’s statistical authority ELSTAT showed that unemployment in December fell to 18.0 percent from 18.3 percent in November, the lowest reading since July 2011 but still the highest in the eurozone.

The retail chain “My Market” belongs to the Greek supermarket chain Metro S.A., which was established in 1976 as a partnership of eight independent grocery stores and today has 225 stores and more than 10,000 employees all over Greece. (1 euro = 1.12 U.S. dollars)

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