ECONOMY

In Brief

Labor unions vow to fight new wage law Greece’s powerful unions yesterday pledged nationwide strikes to protest against a new public sector wage law which ends employees’ right to collective wage contracts. Immediately after its parliamentary approval on Thursday, union leaders demanded that it be retracted and threatened to take the case to Brussels. «We plan a nationwide strike in September and we will also appeal to a European court,» said Stathis Anestis, spokesman for Greece’s largest labor union federation, GSEE. Both GSEE and its public sector counterpart, ADEDY, have urged their 2.5 million members to strike on September 6, when Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is scheduled to unveil his government’s annual economic targets. (Reuters) Intralot says Victoria operations on track Lottery system supplier Intralot’s operations in Australia’s state of Victoria are performing to expectations, the company said yesterday, denying media reports it would not meet projections there. «Instant games… are performing very well and the rest of the games are performing according to our expectations,» Intralot, the world’s second-largest lottery systems provider, said in a statement. It argued that it was reasonable to expect a period of adjustment before operations in the state would reach full maturity, but initial indications showed its targets would be easily met. Australia’s The Age newspaper reported Intralot’s operations in the state of Victoria were having problems and that the group would miss its own sales projections. (Reuters) Cross-border merger The Development Ministry yesterday put the bill on cross-border company mergers within the European Union up for public consultation. The bill incorporates EU directives on mergers, including those involving Greek companies, with the prime concern being the safeguarding of rights, the protection of minority stake holders and creditors as well as the reduction of costs and bureaucratic procedures. Turkey gas Turkey raised its natural gas prices by nearly 20 percent yesterday in line with a new cost-based pricing mechanism, state pipeline company Botas said, announcing a move likely to increase already high inflation. Analysts said the price rise was set to push up annual consumer price inflation, which was up 10.6 percent year-on-year in June, by 0.2-0.5 percentage points. Turkey has an official end-year target of 4 percent, which has long been out of reach. The gas price rise was fixed at 16.88 percent for residential properties and 18.77 percent for industry, Botas said. (Reuters) Romania budget Romania ran a consolidated budget deficit of 1.18 percent of gross domestic product in the first half of the year after a gap of 0.19 percent in the same period a year ago, data of the finance ministry showed. Data showed the centrist minority government ran a nominal deficit of 5.2 billion lei ($2.3 billion) in January-June. The European Union newcomer is targeting a deficit of 2.3 percent of GDP for the end of this year. (Reuters)