In Brief

Bank workers warn of strike over social insurance issue The Federation of Bank Employees’ Unions (OTOE) warned after a board meeting yesterday that it is ready for «immediate strike action» in case banks or the government make unilateral moves toward a settlement of the hot issue of the integration and funding of the industry’s social insurance funds. «We consider unacceptable the banks’ tactic of avoiding tabling a specific proposal… The government bears serious responsibility for the chronic problem, and it must adopt a stand immediately and actively participate in dialogue for a solution that will safeguard the social insurance rights of all bank employees.» Audit Council slows down public-sector computerization Government efforts to speed up the introduction of information technology into public administration face an obstacle in the State Audit Council (SAC). The country’s highest public auditing agency has already blocked four important projects on the grounds that the Information Society (IS) company charged with carrying them out must sign contracts with government departments rather than mere agreements. During the hearing of an appeal yesterday, IS claimed the agreements have no economic content and are therefore not subject to controls by SAC. Among the projects blocked are sections of Syzefxis, for the online networking of government departments, and three programs for the Defense Ministry. SAC has approved 10 other contracts. AIA Athens International Airport (AIA) said it will keep its charges unchanged next year while it also seeks to attract carriers with extended discounts for landing and parking charges. AIA, a 55-45 joint venture between the Greek state and a consortium led by German builder Hochtief, said the decision came after a meeting with the International Air Transport Association and airline representatives. Airlines have often urged the operator to cut its fees, saying they were much higher than the charges levied at the old seaside airport. AIA said its new incentives package aims to help carriers develop new routes. (Reuters) Car importers accused The Association of Greek Car Dealers has filed a complaint to the Competition Commission, accusing official car-importing representatives of holding a dominant market position. Dealers claim that the way distribution networks operate increases the cost of buying and maintaining a car, and pushes many small and medium-sized dealers out of business. They also protest about practices such as having to share their archives and client lists with the car importers, having arbitrary targets on sales and spare parts forced upon them, and the importers’ lack of commitment to dealers’ clients about car delivery deadlines. ASE early closing The Athens stock market will shorten trading hours on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, following other European bourses. The bourse will close at 2 p.m., instead of 4 p.m., today and on January 31.