In Brief

Labor unions to open collective negotiations with 8 percent claim The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) said yesterday it would ask for 8 percent pay raises in the forthcoming negotiations with employers on a collective labor agreement for 2004 – and possibly 2005. Presenting the proposal to GSEE’s board, its chairman, Christos Polyzogopoulos, said the claim includes losses sustained as a result of price rises in 2003, a lump sum advance payment for the anticipated average rate of inflation, a correction for a possible overshoot of that rate, a share in the rise in productivity and 2 percent for convergence with the average European wage within five years. GSEE will also press for a reduction in the 40-hour week as well as a series of other institutional demands concerning leave, benefits and labor rights. The document will be sent to employers in the next few days. Polyzogopoulos said the outlook for the negotiations was not favorable in view of the pre-election period and the Olympic Games, and so GSEE wished to conclude the negotiations as early as possible. Regulator approves some new OTE rates, calls for more Telecoms regulator EETT yesterday approved telecom operator OTE’s new retail rates but said it wants the group to cut its wholesale tariffs for other carriers by at least 4 percent. EETT gave a green light to OTE’s usage-based discounts for residential users but set ceilings on discounted rates for corporate clients which will be reviewed once the operator submits more details. The new price plan is seen as crucial to OTE’s fight against competing carriers and mobile phones. OTE has said the new retail rates would cut customer bills by about 6 percent on average. OTE will need to trim wholesale interconnection and leased-line rates charged to other carriers by at least 4 percent to alleviate pressure on their profit margins, EETT said. The regulator also approved OTE’s proposals for per-second billing and different tariffs based on the time and day of the week. (Reuters) Dairy sins Six out of 10 dairy firms inspected by the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) in the last six months were found to be in some breach of sanitary or labeling regulations but none of the 10 biggest firms, which account for 80 percent of production, were included. EFET said inspections were conducted at 55 of the approximately 600 installations, mainly in northern Greece, and violations were found in half of the firms employing up to 50 people. Inspectors found serious breaches regarding quality and labeling in 10-12 percent of facilities. Seven firms were fined. EFET President Christina Papanikolaou said the agency plans extensive checks throughout the dairy production and retailing chain next year. IT retailing IT equipment retailer Plaisio Computers has opened a new, three-story outlet at 595 Vouliagmenis Avenue. Themeliodomi Construction company Themeliodomi has signed a 4-million-euro contract for infrastructure work in the expansion of the Motor Oil refinery near Corinth.