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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-12-15

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, December 15, 2002

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CONTENTS

  • [01] Shops feel the pinch in card dispute
  • [02] Broadcast watchdog fines stations £27,100
  • [03] News in Brief

  • [01] Shops feel the pinch in card dispute

    By Alexia Saoulli

    CHRISTMAS is normally a time of over-spending, but not this year after the banks put the brakes on credit and debit card use.

    Shopkeepers are already feeling the pinch, and it will get worse over the next nine days if a dispute between the Bankers Employers Association and the Bank Employees Union (ETYK) is not resolved.

    The stopping of 'plastic' transactions from midnight on Friday came because of a strike at JCC Payment Systems Ltd, which processes most card transactions in Cyprus. The dispute began on November 29.

    Shopkeepers in Nicosia yesterday expressed concern and anger over what they felt was a dispute that had nothing to do with them in the first place. Business was down, consumers were anxious, and the streets were empty in the run-up to Christmas.

    “This period normally sees an attack of spending,” Body Shop manageress Lucy Kindini told the Sunday Mail. “Yet this year, because of the strike, people aren't shopping and it has started to show in our takings.”

    The 35-year-old was angry that ETYK had decided to strike now. “Of course they're doing it now because it is in their favour, even though it's the public being forced to suffer.”

    Haris Flogas, 48, at Preludo Scondra Accessories, voiced a similar opinion.

    “Two thirds of our Christmas business is made up of Visa card transactions, ” he said. “We are being forced to take cheques now so that we don't turn customers away. It's a huge risk, but one we have to take, because we don't want to disappoint people and turn them away when they need something.”

    Flogas also said many consumers would think twice about going shopping with fistfuls of cash. “At Christmas you spend a lot of money. You don't want to trail back and forwards to the bank for cash so you carry your credit card on you. Now people will have to calculate how much cash they need, which could run into the thousands. Other people will be aware of this and could take advantage of the fact by mugging them,” he said. “It just doesn't feel safe to go out with £1,000 in your wallet.”

    Most transactions -- about 80 per cent -- at the Andreas Hadjistillis Ltd jewellery involved credit cards.

    “This is really going to affect our sales” badly, said Michalis Hadjistillis. “Shoppers normally use their credit cards during this week because they know their thirteenth salaries will be in the bank around the 22nd. Unless they have cash hidden in a drawer somewhere, they won't have money to go out and buy gifts.”

    Hadjistillis looked out of his shop window and said: “There are people walking around in the street, but no one is coming into the shops because they just don't have the money to buy anything.”

    The 50-year-old said children would probably be the only ones not to suffer, as parents would still try to make ends meet to buy them toys. “They have to buy for kids, but over and about that only God knows.”

    If credit and debit card use had been halted next Sunday instead, the problem would not be as bad, said Fenix manager Kritonas Georgiades. “People still haven't been paid yet and don't have the money in the banks. I have to take cheques, which are a huge risk, but I have no other choice since most my clients use credit cards and I have to give them an alternative.”

    Xenopoulos Shoe Shop, Athletes Foot, St John's Shirts, Monique, Little Harrow, Event and Ursula Gerden shopkeepers all expressed similar fears.

    “I'm losing clients,” said Anna Anaxagorou at Monique.

    “It's nearly lunchtime and I still haven't sold a single item,” said Astero Karabedian at Event.

    Nikos and Ritsa Constantinou run Ursula Gerden, a shop that relies heavily on tourism and the Christmas boom. “Tourists don't like to hear no when you tell them you can't accept credit cards and they walk out of the shop. Cypriots don't even go out because they haven't got the money and I have no money coming into account, which means I can't pay off my suppliers. This strike is a great disservice and taking the public for a ride.”

    It was affecting the economy directly and the government should have got involved, according to Athlete's Foot manager Panayiotis Leontsini. “I'm very angry that nothing is being done to end this,” he said.

    ETYK is only in violation of industrial relations codes, not the law, so there was nothing anyone could do to stop the union, JCC Electronic Division General Manager Takis Fekkos said this week.

    The strike began after a clash between ETYK and the Bankers Employers Association over the re-hiring of an information technology specialist. The union said JCC was in violation of collective agreements by hiring him without ETYK authorisation.

    “It's not our fault they can't sort out their differences between themselves,” Little Harrow employee Marianna Petrakeh said yesterday. “Now everyone is losing out.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [02] Broadcast watchdog fines stations £27,100

    By Alexia Saoulli

    The Cyprus Broadcasting Authority (CBA) yesterday announced its findings into 20 complaints of alleged violations of legislation governing radio and television stations.

    The cases involved 71 violations including human rights, personal privacy, objectivity, accuracy, equality and unsuitable material broadcast at inappropriate times.

    The investigation led to the imposition of five fines amounting to £27,100, eight warnings, five complaints being dismissed, and two stations being let off after they conformed to existing legislation.

    Mega (Logos) television channel suffered the biggest blow with a £12,000 fine after investigation upheld complaints of subjective and incorrect news bulletins in February concerning cannabis possession and allegedly involving Nicosia lawyers. The CBA said the station had not aired both sides of the story, that it was not objective and accurate, and that it had transmitted scenes unsuitable for minors during family viewing times.

    Antenna was fined a total of £8,000 after it was found guilty of airing a subjective news story and of transmitting material obtained by hidden cameras without prior consent. The television channel was also given two warnings, while a further three complaints against it were dismissed.

    There were seven complaints filed against Sigma TV. The station was fined £7,100 for two violations, given warnings for three, and the other two were dismissed. All the complaints involved unsuitable material screened during children's or family viewing, not providing appropriate film classifications, and airing material that could mislead minors.

    Warnings were given to Radio Astra, Radio Super and New Extra TV. Ayios Demetrios Radio station and Paphos TV were let off after they conformed to existing legislation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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    [03] News in Brief

    A MAN was killed while trying to cross the road in Limassol yesterday. Police said the victim, whose name has not yet been released, was believed to be 70 to 75 years old. He was hit while crossing Ayias Fylaxeos Street. He was critically injured and died in hospital.

    LIMASSOL football fans attacked Paphos police yesterday, injuring six of them. Three were admitted to hospital for treatment and the rest were given first aid and released. The trouble happened after a match between Apollonas of Limassol and AEP of Paphos. The hooligans escaped and there were no arrests, police said.

    A 40-year-old Limassol woman has been reported missing. Elena Paphitou has been missing from the Antonakis Nikolaou hostel, on Renou Pouyioukka St in Limassol, since 10am on Thursday. She is described as tall and chubby, with short curly brown hair.

    Police have appealed for information on her whereabouts.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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