In Brief

Holiday leave to be granted after one month on the job, instead of year Employees who have just begun a new job will be eligible for vacation time after their first month at work, and not after a full year, according to legislation being prepared by the Labor and Social Security Ministry. This is aimed at helping employees who have fixed-term contracts and those who have changed jobs, who might have gone for years without a vacation in the past if they kept changing jobs. The legislation, which will be presented as an amendment to other legislation, stems from the agreement on a collective labor agreement signed by the government, labor unions and employers’ federations. The amount of leave granted will be proportional to the amount of time worked. In other words, if the employee is allowed 24 days of leave annually, he or she will be allowed to take off two days after having worked for a month. After five months of work they will be allowed to take 10 days of vacation, and so on. Bank employees call for euro coins to be replaced by banknotes The Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions said yesterday that it has sent a letter to the president of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, stressing the need for the 1-euro and 2-euro coins to be replaced by banknotes. «We think that the metallic form of the two coins is a serious reason for the devaluation of their real value in the conscience of the citizens of our country and of other European citizens as well,» the letter said. It argued that if people treated the small denominations with greater respect for their true value, this would help «ease inflationary pressures.» The bank employees’ federation, OTOE, represents 60,000 employees. Turkey faces gas glut Deep recession and poor planning have handed Turkey a natural gas glut that analysts say may not be eaten up by plans to export it on to Greece and Europe or by moves to increase domestic consumption. Financial crisis in 2001 plunged Turkey’s economy into its worst crisis since 1945, a 9.4-percent contraction. While official figures show a slight rise in gas consumption between 2000 and 2001, when 16.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) were used, analysts and countries that export gas to Turkey insist that the crisis had a major impact on consumption. «Even if the economy grows this year, fueling natural gas demand, there will be a surplus in gas,» said one energy analyst who declined to be named. «That’s why (state pipeline company) Botas speeds up building storage facilities, and is trying to complete gas networks in 57 cities by 2005,» he said. Turkey has contracted to buy at least 21 bcm of gas from Russia, Algeria, Nigeria and Iran this year, though it only expects to consume 20 bcm. To prop up consumption, Botas encourages gas usage in cars and plans LNG exports to the US and the Far East. While Turkish officials insist oversupply is not a problem, Ankara is working on a plan to sell excess gas to European markets through Greece via a 285-km (180-mile) pipeline. The $300-million project will initially carry 500 million cubic meters of gas annually when it is built in about two years. (Reuters)