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Porto Carras declines, the layoffs continue

02 January 2013 / 14:01:53  GRReporter
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The management of the largest and well-known holiday resort on the northern Mediterranean, the Porto Carras resort in Halkidiki, had an unpleasant surprise for 58 of its employees. It dismissed them two days before the New Year's holiday as part of a programme to reduce the operating costs of the financially troubled hotel group.

The chairman of the labour centre in Halkidiki, Angelos Pratsas, announces that four of the seven members of the trade union of Porto Carras’ employees were among those dismissed. "The cuts are illegal, ungrounded and vindictive," he insists and associates the purge with the claims for the payment of overdue obligations the employees have filed. He admits that it is a settling of accounts between the management and the more active trade unionists who began to organize strikes as long ago as 2011.
A year ago, GRReporter contacted the representative of the employees’ trade union in Porto Carras, Dimitris Livadiotis. He explained that payments to 300 people were delayed by three to five months in 2011, which had strained employer-employee relations.

The manager of the resort at the time, Vassilis Vassilakis, also spoke to GRReporter and explained that Porto Carras could not cope with the payment of salaries in due time for several reasons, one of them being higher taxes and lower prices, which attracted customers but reduced the amount of cash flows to the company. The more serious reason, however, was that at the end of 2011, the state had not yet returned the 2010 VAT to the amount of 6.5 million euro, which dramatically upset the corporation's balance sheet. Vassilakis expressed his desire to find a middle ground of understanding, which was temporarily reached.
Despite the problems at the end of 2011, the employers and employees found a common language and the hotel affronted the summer season. It was not very successful, resulting in the dismissal of 120 people from permanent service by the end of the summer. In the autumn, the management was changed and later, it decided that the hotel would not be open for tourists in winter as before. In early December 2012, the joint-stock company owning Porto Carras, Technical Olympic Group, announced that it was not obliged to maintain a permanent staff of 500 employees at the casinos of the hotel chain and that the excess staff would be dismissed.

The work in the casinos in Porto Carras, which are the main sources of funds of the resort, has seriously declined in recent years. In 2008, their turnover reached 20 million euro. In 2010, it fell to 8.7 million euro and in 2012, it did not exceed 3 million euro. "Our turnover has fallen, the state owes us tens of millions of euro and we, therefore, owe unpaid wages to our employees," says the hotel management, adding that they cannot afford to hire people when there is no work for them.


Tags: SocietyPorto CarrasGreeceHalkidikiDismissals
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