In Brief

Unions and employers make no progress over pay pact The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and employers’ organizations last night failed to make progress in their fourth round of negotiations on a new collective labor agreement over pay. Employers insisted on a two-year pact, with raises of 4.1 percent for 2002 and 3.5 percent for 2003. GSEE is asking for 5.1-5.3 percent for 2002 alone. Wide disagreement was also reported on the issue of reducing the working week to 39 hours, with employers favoring its adoption as of 2004 and a change in overtime regulations, and GSEE seeking its implementation within 2003. Employers are pressing for a total of 5 hours of overtime work, of which the first over 40 hours will be paid at the normal rate and the remaining four paid at 25 percent extra, as opposed to 50 percent today. Thessaloniki complaints over OA flights The Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBETH) yesterday called for Transport Minister Christos Verelis’s intervention with Olympic Airways to recall its decision to abolish a number of direct flights from the city to domestic and foreign destinations. «The decision is incomprehensible, both in terms of business and the more general repercussions it will have on the city’s traveling public and economy,» said EBETH president Dimitris Bakatselos. The airline cited weak demand, high cost and the need to rationalize its flight program. As of March 31, OA will serve 19 destinations at home and abroad. ALBA conference The Third European Conference on Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities (OKLC), organized by the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA), will take place at the Astir Palace hotel on April 5 and 6. The conference, which Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos has been invited to address, is titled «Sustainable Development 2010: The Road to the Society of Knowledge» and will host 250 prominent academics and senior business executives who will make 170 presentations. The 80 places still available for attendance will be distributed strictly on a priority basis. For more information, visit, or telephone 010-8964531-8, fax 010-8964737. Dresdner cuts NBG rating Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein yesterday downgraded National Bank of Greece to «hold» from «add» on valuation grounds, saying the stock was fully valued. The bank said it expected net income growth to be lower in 2002, with 8-percent growth, due to flat interest rates causing asset yields to decline. «During the first-half 2002 net income growth will be flat year-on-year and NBG will only see growth in the second-half,» it added. (Reuters) Smart card deal Inform Processing Services (ISP) of the Inform Lykos group has signed a cooperation agreement in smart cards and security applications with Finland’s SETEC. The deal concerns bank cards, ID cards and dual interface cards. The government plans to create a single pension fund for wage earners, which would kick off in 2008, to replace the existing numerous funds, while supplementary funds are also due to be integrated into no more than 10 bodies. Critics said the piecemeal approach and the government’s insistence that the social security system remain a state-run, pay-as-you-go structure seem more an attempt to placate the government’s grassroots supporters than any effort to produce a system able to survive and function effectively in the long term.

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