SBBE president predicts layoffs as economy suffers

Layoffs are to be expected in several sectors of the Greek economy, especially consumer goods producers and retailers, as a result of the worsening economic climate. Dimitris Symeonidis, president of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), told reporters yesterday that the Greek industry was just beginning to feel the consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Orders for consumer goods are not at the usual levels. At the moment, I cannot speak of (order) cancellations, but rather of postponements, Symeonidis said. Seasonal contracts Symeonidis did not exclude the possibility of layoffs, as a protective measure on the part of enterprises. First to go would be those on limited-term or seasonal contracts. Symeonidis defended the prospective layoffs, saying that they constituted a defense mechanism that would keep the companies afloat. He added that the layoffs, if any, would be gradual. Greece’s labor laws make mass redundancies exceedingly difficult, unless the company in question ceases operations. ‘Tired’ ministers Symeonidis also commented on the expected cabinet reshuffle. He said that some of the current ministers are tired and unsuccessful and that he hoped new faces would be appointed in the economic ministries. He added that ministerial initiatives were often stifled by lower-ranking bureaucrats who put brakes on development, either intentionally or because of a rigid bureaucratic mentality.