Austerity measures increase in debt-laden Greek state-owned companies

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The cash-strapped Greek betting monopoly, OPAP has signed a collective bargaining agreement with OPAP's employee union where the general assembly of the workers agreed to a three-year labour deal involving an annual weighted average reduction in employee salaries of 14% and an increase in working hours from 7.5 to 8 hours per day.

OPAP labour union chief, Marina Massara said: "Showing once again their responsibility, employees evaluated the general economic climate and OPAP's need to stay competitive and reached an agreement."

The Greek Government says its plan to divest of its 34% stake in OPAP next year in order to cut debt continues. The stake is estimated to be worth €1.5 billion.

Massara told Reuters the trade union opposed the government's planned stake sale, saying it would run counter to Greece's interests. "Workers will try to reverse any privatisation plans because OPAP is the pillar of culture and sports and offers a lifeline to the state budget."

Other state-owned company employees, including telecom operator OTE and Hellenic Petroleum refiner, have reportedly refused to agree to wage cuts.

OPAP shareholders, on the Greek Governments request, approved a 20% cut to the executive board members salaries earlier this month.

In a live broadcast on the state-run Vouli TV, the Greek Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou said: “The time has come to speed up more. The sale of stakes in listed companies must be the priority, followed by the formation of management bodies for a “faster income inflow from real-estate holdings.”

In a meeting held in Brussels this week, European Union Finance Ministers said Greece must reinforce its plans and sell assets faster to regain control of the national debt.

“The Greek economy needs private capital, it needs investments. We must attract foreign investment, big foreign companies to invest in Greece, big and small Greek companies. We need to open up the country’s economy to create wealth,” Papaconstantinou said.

Source: InfoPowa News