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Italian workers among the poorest paid in Europe PDF Print E-mail
Feb 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

ImageEurostat, the European Union's statistics branch, has completed a study on European salaries that confirms what Italy's labor unions have long held, and that is that Italian workers are paid considerably less than their counterparts in most other European countries. According to the study, only workers in Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia are paid worse than Italian workers whereas all the rest, including near-bankrupt Greece, pay their workers more. 

The average annual gross (pre-taxes) salary of an Italian worker is 23.406 euro, the equivalent of $31,182. Even workers in troubled economies such as Greece and Cyprus earn more than that the study showed. The best paid workers are in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany. (see the chart below).

One implication of this is that the government's new austerity measures are likely to caue a lot of pain here. These include a new and higher property tax, which once again will be applied to people's primary residence (Berlusconi had done away with this tax), higher VAT (a sort of sales tax on all transactions of goods and services) and higher gasoline prices. Today it cost me €12.5 euros to fill up my moped's gas tank; only a couple of months ago it cost be €10. On the weekend, driving up the Autostrada, I stopped for coffee and  got into a conversation with the two barmen, who were complaining about the country's establishment. I asked them how much they made and they said 1100 euros a month. I don't know if that was gross or net but either way it would be impossible for a family of four to live on that.

The Eurostat study also showed that in Italy salaries rose since 2005 by only 3.3% as opposed to by 29.4% in Spain, 22% in Portugal, 16.1% in Luxembourg, 14.7% n the Netherlands, 11% in Belgium, 10% in France and 6% in Germany. Another sign of how little economic growth there was during the last several years.

Average gross annual incomes in 2009




BELGIUM 40.698

IRELAND 39.858


FRANCE 33.574

?AUSTRIA 33.384

GREECE 29.160

SPAIN 26.316

CIYPRUS 24.775

ITALY 23.406



MALTA 16.158


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