Readers of the Athens monthly magazine ‘Shedia’, sold on the streets by homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people, as a means to support themselves, were astonished to see none of the sellers out on the streets. The reason, was that they had been the target of Greek bureaucracy, demanding that they pay for their social security funds.
Edited by Chris Alefantis, a Melbourne-born, Athens-based journalist, ‘Shedia’ is following the success of ‘Big Issue’. Similarly, the magazine’s revenue is shared by the publishers and sellers. So far, each issue cost 3 euros – 1.5 went to the sellers and the other half went to the magazine to cover production costs. Now the Greek Finance Ministry demands that the homeless and disadvantaged selllers be insured, as does any sole trader. This means that 40 cents from €1.50 will have to be paid to social funds.
The decision was met with outrage from the magazine’s supporters, but the publishing company decided to raise the price by one euro, in order to cover for the extra expense demanded by the Greek authorities. The new arrangement will see selllers getting 2.7 euros out of the new cover price, given that the contribution has to be made by themselves. The magazine will have to do with 1.06, in order to cover its production and operational costs. On the upside, the magazine’s distributors will be now in a position to receive social security and health care.