Gov’t sets 3 percent ceiling on public utilities’ rate and pay increases in 2006

In an effort to tidy up the finances of non-listed public utilities, the government has set a lid of 3 percent on their rate and salary raises in 2006. According to a Finance Ministry circular issued yesterday in connection with the drafting of the 2006 budget, such utilities, which include the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE), Hellenic Post (ELTA), the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway (ISAP), trolley bus (ILPAP) and tram companies and arms production industries will have to put a 3 percent lid on their tariffs, restrict hirings, seek to tap their real estate holdings, promote partnerships within the private sector and drastically cut their borrowing. The circular stipulates that salary raises, within the framework of collective pay pacts, will have to be kept to a maximum of 3 percent and will be paid in one go. Tariffs «must in all cases vary at levels lower than 3 percent» and «public enterprises must not effect increases without previously examining all alternative ways of raising revenue levels.»

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