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Power cuts because of protests against the privatization of the state power company

29 April 2011 / 16:04:46  GRReporter
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The employees of the power plant will begin a series of 48-hour protests in the week before the submission to Parliament of the bill according to which 17% of the national electric power plant will be privatized, said the head of their union Nikos Fotopoulos.

If the government initiates the privatization, the employees of the plant will pursue legal actions, added Fotopoulos. Most likely, the protests will start from next week. "You do not sell the goose that lays your golden eggs," said Fotopoulos, who claimed that the state treasury twill earn only 400 million euros at stock price of 12 euros. He said electricity prices would double and even triple, as happened in other European countries. According to the data the unionists presented, the opening of the electricity market in any country (England, Norway, Denmark) has led to increase in the prices by between 24% to 90%. The data cover the period between 2000 and 2009 when the increase in Greece was within 38%.

The chairman of the union of the workers of the plant announced he would indirectly block the inclusion of shareholders through the insurance claims of employees. Fotopoulos attacked the Minister of Economy George Papaconstantinou and the Deputy Minister Filippos Sahinidis, noting that "during the occupation of the office of the chairman at that time Takis Atanasopoulos not to sell the state power plant to RWE, Papaconstantinou and Sahinidis came to us and were involved. They spoke of a state company. We were friends then. Today we are not." Fotopoulos expressed his respect for the Minister of Environment Tina Birbili, who does not support the privatization of the power company and of 40% of the lignite production.

Meanwhile, the financial auditor of the state administration Leandros Rakindzis revealed in his report that the state power company has given huge amounts to the trade union. On this occasion, the union chairman stated his willingness to make his bank account public as well as the bank accounts of other trade unionists. He tried to justify the huge unreasonable expenses (for travelling, accommodation in expensive hotels, luxury gifts and even for parking fees), explaining that they were made for union’s visits and said the report was a result of an attempt to "throw mud" against the union because it does not support the privatization.

The Deputy Minister of Employment George Koutroumanis himself said for MEGA TV that the amount is huge and that accounting revision is being carried out currently. Fotopoulos announced that the union would stop giving gifts to ministers and accused the members of the plant management that they recently sent gifts to their competitors.

According to press releases about the report of the auditor, the amounts of 25 million euros allocated by the state company to its trade union between 1999 and 2010 are illegal. The spending by unionists was absurd, because it is not known whether the money granted by the company to the union was used for business trips abroad and for participation in congresses and where or for the organisation of protests and participation in strikes against the company itself.

According to the present data, the power plant has approved 184,211 euros in 2008 for the union members’ travels abroad and the same amounts were allocated in the next two years. 63,570 euros were spent for trips to the European Union countries for a year and in 2009 the amount equals 390,430 euros. Oddly enough, neither the purposes of the trips nor the names of the persons were recorded in the statements so that they could be verified.

Also, under the "costs of international public relations" the state power company has approved amounts for gifts (baskets and boxes of alcoholic beverages, etc.), but the invoices do not contain the names of the recipients of the gifts and their purpose. The costs covered by the state company include monthly parking cards for people who were not its employees or were children of employees.


Tags: NewsPowerElectricityProtestsPower companyTrade unionsPrivatization TripsStatements
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