ECONOMY

Major interest in OTE voluntary exit programs

Some 1,300 applications of interest have been submitted in the first two days since OTE telecom announced a program of voluntary redundancies.

The deadline for applications is November 29, after which OTE will hand out departure agreement forms so the applicants can confirm their participation in the program. OTE is hoping to have the program completed by the end of the year.

The aim of the telecom giant is to reduce its staff numbers by 1,100, with signs so far indicating that it will have no problem reaching this target. Given, however, that the majority of applicants are just a few years from retirement, there may be a spike in the number by the end of the month if an amendment is passed through Parliament allowing employees who sign on for the scheme to insure themselves at their healthcare fund on the condition that OTE pays, in cash, the contributions that will be lost by their being fired.

According to OTE, there are seven different exit packages being offered, depending on the status of the applicants. The company added that a sum of 190 million euros has been set aside to pay for the scheme, though OTE officials and market professionals have not ruled out that more may have to be spent as the end-goal is to reduce staff numbers.