ECONOMY

In Brief

Parliament approves hot labor reform bill Parliament approved yesterday the highly controversial labor reform bill which the government sees as a major step toward revamping lumbering state enterprises, but which unions say violates collective wage agreements. The proposed law sparked off nationwide strikes over the last two days. The main opposition PASOK party walked out of the debate, with its spokesman Haris Kastanidis predicting that the law will be annulled by the courts. The controversial Article 14 of the new law, which abolishes collective bargaining in ailing public enterprises, was opposed by both government-affiliated trade unionists and the Federation of Greek Industries. Internet-for-students program is open to all IT companies Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas responded to criticism voiced by the Federation of Information Technology and Communications Enterprises (SEPE), saying that Diodos, the Internet program for students, «is open to all enterprises in the sector, which will be able to form alternative connection packages to be chosen freely by student-users.» Sioufas noted strong interest among companies in the pilot scheme, and reiterated Diodos will offer students the chance for broadband connection under special terms, reducing monthly costs for users. Coca-Cola HBC Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company is seeking to acquire up to 100 percent of Cypriot bottler Lanitis Bros, the company said yesterday. Coca-Cola HBC said its subsidiary, 3E Cyprus, would offer 0.172 Cyprus pounds ($0.36) for each Lanitis Bros share – approximately 43 million Cyprus pounds ($90 million). Vladimiros Lanitis, who holds 50.60 percent of the issued share capital of Lanitis Bros, has agreed and has committed to accept the public offer, the statement said. (AP) New PPC head Constantinos Kyriakopoulos yesterday took over yesterday as non-executive president of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) following the resignation of Yiannis Paleokrassas two weeks ago. This follows a long career in banking with Alpha Bank and Emporiki and his tenure is to last until January 8, 2007. Separately, personal and health reasons reportedly forced Raphael Moysis to resign as CEO of the Public Gas Corporation on November 24. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas only accepted the resignation yesterday; Moysis will keep the post of DEPA president. Companies fined The General Secretariat for Consumer Affairs imposed fines totaling 71,500 euros on six companies for breaching consumer protection legislation. They include two car importers, Mava and Fiat Credit Hellas, while lower fines were imposed on companies selling illegal lighters, uncertified laser pointers, DVD recorders without a guarantee and a royal jelly that was supposed to cure diseases.