ECONOMY

In Brief

Civil servants protest incomes policy with threat of revelations The civil servants union (ADEDY) yesterday threatened to make shocking revelations about how public money is wasted. The body’s chairman, Spyros Papaspyros, said the waste largely takes the form of the partial privatization of public departments or even the assumption by private firms of portions of public projects at high cost. Citing other examples of waste, he said hospital staff were credited with up to 120 hours overtime work monthly, and that the unit costs of reconstructing the outpatient clinics of the State General Hospital in Athens could be compared with that of «the most luxurious villa.» Papaspyros said the revelations would continue in a systematic way and were part of ADEDY’s decision to address the issue of education and health spending. He said civil servants would stage a 24-hour strike throughout the country on December 5 to protest the government’s incomes policy for 2003. «The incomes policy of 2.5 percent, with a parallel 3 percent rise in social security contributions and 2.8 percent inflation, without providing for a compensating sum, undermines and erodes the income of working people in the public sector,» said Papaspyros. He said the strike will be a first step of action that will have continuity and intensity. Major conference on Greek economy in London on Dec. 4 Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis will be the keynote speaker at the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s (BHCC) conference at London’s Four Seasons Hotel on December 4, titled «Greece – The Regional Economic Center in Southeast Europe.» The event, to be opened by London’s Lord Mayor Alderman Gavyn Arthur, will also be attended by Britain’s minister of trade and investment, Baroness Symons, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis and prominent business and stock market leaders. The event is to be held under the auspices of the Confederation of British Industries and the London Stock Exchange which is hosting a reception for the members of the Greek delegation on the evening of December 3. For more information, call BHCC at 210.7210361 or 210.7210493 (e-mail: [email protected] gr). Major projects A number of major projects are running ahead of schedule, Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said. The east-west Attiki Highway north of Athens is projected to be finished three months early, at the end of 2003, while the 11-km (7-mile) stretch from Metamorphosis to Gerakas is due to be completed in two months’ time, carrying more traffic to the airport, she said. The Rio-Antirio bridge linking mainland Greece with the Peloponnese will be ready a month earlier than scheduled – in November 2004. She said the 680-km (422-mile) Egnatia Highway, running from the port of Igoumenitsa in the west to the Turkish border, is projected for completion at the end of 2004, with the major stretch from Grevena to the border expected to be ready a year earlier. Street markets Street market vendors of manufactured goods will have to use cash registers as of March 1, 2003, the Finance Ministry has said. The registers will have to be ordered by December 31.