|Tuesday, 21 August 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-12-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Biministerial Meeting on Olympic AirlinesThe privatization biministerial committee, which met under the chairmanship of Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, approved the privatization process of Olympic Airlines. Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis briefed the PM on the issue and stated he was satisfied for the participation in the tender amid the crisis. We believe, said Mr Hatzidakis that we have a good investing basis despite the exceptionally negative global circumstance that will allow us to hope that all will go well. The 17 candidates can submit their binding bids until 30 January 2009, which is the deadline for submitting bids. Then, the new investors will be announced. Meanwhile, cancellations of Olympic Airlines domestic flights will continue in the next days if the company's technicians are not allowed overtime work.
Seventeen Bids without Air Qatar and Iberia
The biminesterial committee was briefed by the state officials on the privatization process, which is entering the phase of submission committing bids by candidate investors for the three tenders that concern the sectors of flights, ground service and repair of aircrafts. To continue in this phase are seven candidate investors for the sector of flights, seven for ground service and three for aircraft repair.
It should be noted that the list of those who are interested in taking part in the tender does not include Air Qatar and Iberia.The bidders consist of Saudi and European businessmen, while some Greek businessmen have also exhibited interest.
"In a period during which the increasing tourism, Greece's regional cohesion, flying safety and the restructuring of our national carrier, the 8,000 full time working positions are the goal, the ND government insists on liquidating OA.
It passes the flying sector, the technical base and service to third companies to competitive-prospective private buyers and banks that interested only in increasing their profits, even with the institutionalization of insecure labour relations. In parallel, PASOK's leadership is still looking for "a good privatization deal" of Olympic Airlines, commented in its announcement SYN (Coalition of the Left), adding that the only realistic solution to the benefit of the people is the creation of a powerful Public Joint Air Carrier.
On OSE's Streamlining
Regarding OSE (Hellenic Railways Association), Mr Hatzidakis told the prime minister that the programme for the Organisation's restructuring is in progress and is based on four axes. Regarding safety, he said we have begun cooperating with the French railways, and as for transparency is big effort is taking place from the Organisation's board and the Finance Ministry, which is carrying out regular and extraordinary checks on OSE. Regarding development, electric traction from Thessaloniki to Domokos has finished, while the Suburban Rail's electric traction will finish by summer and the new Athens-Halkida line will be materialized.
Regarding OSE's streamlining, the Transport Minister said that a huge effort is under way so that the finances of the most problematic European railway are improved. In this way, the operational deficit will drop from 455 million euros in 2007 to 80 million euros in 2010. We wish to save this money for investments and social policy, adding that those who argue that are in favour of a social policy, should not react to such streamlining moves irrelevant of where they derive from.
News item: 17032
 Market Picks Up GraduallyVarvakios central market and the rest of the shops have continued picking up, despite the fact that consumers appear reserved in comparison to 2007 due to the financial crisis. As per KEPKA (Consumers Protection Centre) the Christmas dinner will cost as much last year. The cost for 8-10 persons begins from 60.50 euros and reaches 129.80 euros. A difference that reaches 114% and which forces consumers to proceed with a market research. However, there are generous offers and the consumers can take advantage of them. The competent Development Ministry Secretary advises prudence and market research.
Meanwhile, shops will remain open in Athens next Sunday at the merchants' request, so that part of the losses in turnover during the recent incidents is covered. However, employees are reacting to the decision.
Shops will remain open today until 21:00 while on Chrismas eve until 18:00.
The central meat market has been busy today. The market is healing its wounds stated to NET 105.8 the President of the Athens Merchants' Association Panagis Karelas.
Meanwhile, the market's festive atmosphere is being restored gradually, stated Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Vlachos, who added that various and accessible offers to households are available in the market.
The local turkey costs from 3.50-7 euros, the local lamb from 7.50-9.90 euros, pork from 7-10 euros and local veal from 5-9.60 euros. Local chickens are sold from 2.5-3.95 euros.
The traditional Christmas sweets are sold from 5-11 euros per kilo and the New Year's cake from 4.70-11 euros.
Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis visited Varvakios market this morning and exchanged wishes with merchants and consumers.
Meanwhile, prefecture employees have continued with their checks, taking samples from all products to verify their safety and hygiene.
City-vets and agronomists of the Piraeus Prefecture have confiscated during the last days 33 tons of meat and meat products, as well as 22 tons of pulse from Mexico as they were unsuitable for consumption.
Working Hours for Shops during Holidays
In Athens, on Monday and Wednesday, shops will open at 10:00 and close at 18:00, while on Saturday 20 and 27 December they will operate from 10:00-20:00. On Sunday, 21 December they will open at 10:00 and close at 18:00. On Friday, 2 January 2009, they will remain closed and on Saturday 3 January 2009 working hours will return to normal.
In Thessaloniki shops will open at 10:00 and close at 21:00 on 19, 22, 23, 29 and 30 December. On 20, 21 and 27 December will remain open from 10:00-20:00. On Christmas Eve they will remain open from 10:00 until 18:00 and on New Year's Eve from 10:00 until 16:00. Finally, shops will remain closed on 25, 26 and 28 December, as well as on 1 and 2 January.
Reactions on Decision for Shops to Open on This Year's Last Sunday
Employees have reacted on the Development Ministry's decision to have shops opened on the last Sunday of 2008. The ministry reported that that measure would go into effect only this year.
Deputy Development Minister G. Vlachos met with the Athens Prefect's representative, due to Mr Sgouros' absence, with whom he agreed that the market in Athens should be supported and the decision in question materialized. Meanwhile, those employees who will work on Sunday, 28 December 2008 will receive an extra 75% increase of their wage and an extra day off. Alternately, following the two parties' joint decision employees can get paid for their day off and receive an extra 75% of their wage. In parallel, the Prefectural Committee of the Athens Prefecture is holding an extraordinary meeting at 13:00, Wednesday to examine the Athens Merchants' Association request, as per which shops will open extra days. The Greek Association of Retail Sale Enterprises believes that the measure should have been implemented to all shops across Greece and not only Athens shops.
The Greek Employees Federation is reacting to the above decision, adding that employees will not agree with such a decision.
"The Athens shops that will open on Sunday 28 December under the government's decision does not only serve the powerful merchants and government's fixed objective to abolish Sunday as a day off in commerce and in general. The extraordinary needs and the situation in the market are an excuse. The self-employed and petty merchants should not be taken in. The materialization of these plans are not only against employees and small and medium-sized enterprises," commented KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and PAME (All Workers Militant Front), calling on the employees not to accept the measure.
News item: 17031