GOOD news is as scarce as bank credit nowadays, so when we stumble on something that could be interpreted as mildly positive we feel duty bound to make a big song and dance about it.
Unfortunately, the good news is not about a vicious lynch mob heading to the Kellaki dacha or that Professor Panicos has been kidnapped by aliens that want him to run their central bank, or that huge deposits of crude oil were found in Solon Kasinis’ brain.
The humbling of the once-mighty and uncompromising Glafcos Hadjiklamouris was a joy to behold for all us union-bashers, the miserable looks of the PASYDY boss for once being justified. Members in the government camp claim that PASYDY’s time of calling the shots was over and Hadjiklamouris was smart enough to realise this.
Having been snubbed over the change of working hours, the government completely ignoring his calls for dialogue, and the appointment of the Reform Commissioner, whom he stridently opposed and took the government to court over but lost, Hadjiklamouris has now decided to re-invent himself.
A new, revamped, reformed Hadjiklamouris re-packaged himself this week as a conciliator, a voice of reason, moderation and compromise. This unexpected transformation was an admission of defeat, which must qualify, just about, as good news. It will turn into bad news if the miserable one, as part of his transformation, learns to smile in public as well.
THE NEW version of Hadjiklamouris was launched at the gathering of angry PASYDY members who wanted dynamic action against the government’s decision, included in the 2014 budget, to cut overtime pay and shift allowances.
The decision affects more than 30 branches of the public parasites and the most outspoken opposition was from the nurses, who had threatened “extreme measures” to defend their privileges. Their leader described the government plan as “a slaughter and financial destruction for some colleagues,” and promised a fight till the end.
This was the type of rhetoric used regularly in the past by his great leader, the nurses’ boss either not knowing that things had changed or playing a bit of theatre. At Tuesday’s meeting attended by the affected parasites hell-bent on deciding extreme measures, Hadjiklamouris unveiled his new persona.
AFTER the obligatory lament about the hard life of the parasites, he persuaded his comrades not to take strike measures and declared “we are not an irregular army”. He would ask the finance ministry for dialogue, convinced that “consensus solutions would be found”.
His colleagues were being slaughtered and he was advocating dialogue, offering to speak to the government. It was a bit difficult for him to do anything else. What Hadjikalmouris failed to mention to his comrades at Tuesday’s meeting was that cuts to shift allowances and overtime pay were not the idea of the government but his own.
He submitted the “slaughter” proposals to the finance ministry, which accepted them and incorporated them in the budget unchanged. It would have been a bit ridiculous for him to endorse strike action against the proposals he had made.
As for his promise of a dialogue with the ministry and a consensus solution, he was just buying time, appeasing the parasitic hordes until branch leaders could inform their members that their slaughter was irreversible.
A BAD WEEK got worse for the unlikeable union boss when on Friday the Supreme Court threw out PASYDY’s appeal against the appointment of Reform Commissioner Emanuella Lambrianides. The parasite boss was refusing to talk to Emanuella, who was given the task of restructuring the civil service, because of legalistic objections, incurring the righteous wrath of Prez Nik.
A day earlier, the Commissioner announced some of the findings of the foreign consultants brought in to make proposals for the modernisation of the state service. Their main point was that the way the state payroll was structured – pay scales, indexes and automatic pay rises – made it unsustainable.
This meant that days of guaranteed annual pay rises of between six and eight per cent for every lazy loser employed by the state would soon be over. The consultants added that pay rises would be based on performance, which would keep 95 per cent of parasites on the same wage for the rest of their career.
Hadjiklamouris responded, but in a measured way, in keeping with his new persona. “Those who know, know how the state payroll was done. Those who do not know, do not know. The payroll was designed by experts; we did not say one day this is it.”
We are among those who do not know, but we do know that if you pay experts to design you a payroll that guarantees gigantic pay-rises every year they will do it.
THE REFORM Commissioner, miserable one’s nemesis, was originally referred to as Emanuella Lambrianidou Moushoutta but she dropped the second surname to make her name a bit more media-friendly. Her first name is more intriguing and has been the subject of much pointless debate at our establishment.
What possessed her parents to give her such a name? All of our customers who were around in the seventies, think of only one thing when they hear her name – the sex movie Emanuelle which was so phenomenally successful it had five sequels and also spawned the Black Emanuelle movie series known by Kyproulla moviegoers as Mavri Emanuella.
Emanuella must have been born some time in the seventies, when the Emanuelle craze was at its height, which makes her parents’ choice of name really perplexing.
OUR DISREPUTABLE establishment’s suggestion, a few weeks ago, of the government compensating Professor Panicos so he could step down as Governor must have been taken on board if press reports are anything to go by.
On Friday, Panicos had a meeting with Under-Secretary to the President Constantinos Petrides supposedly to discuss issues relating to the banking sector, as was reported after the meeting.
Yesterday however, Politis reported that at the meeting the two discussed the possibility of a velvet divorce, by which the professor would be paid the full value of his contract, which expires in 2017, and leave his post, just as our establishment had suggested. The paper said that Panicos’ lawyer was also present.
The Kathimerini website yesterday posted a similar story but claimed that the Professor had turned down the government’s offer. But why did he have his lawyer with him if he had no intention of negotiating a deal? Was it because he thought the meeting would focus on a discussion of the banking sector?
THE BIG question is who had leaked the information to the media? Leaking stories is one of the few things the Professor does very professionally.
On Wednesday he leaked the letter he had written to the Prez the previous day seeking a meeting with him to discuss issues ‘pertaining to the banking sector’, which appears to have become the code for a possible resignation.
But the professor would not have leaked the resignation story as it was not in his interest to do so. The government would certainly not have done it because it may have provoked a reaction from the European Commission and confidentiality would be essential until the divorce settlement was agreed.
The only people with an interest in preventing the divorce –not for the sake of the children – are the two AKEL apparatchiks at the Central Bank who are the Governor’s closest associates and enjoy superpowers – his PA, commie battle-axe Eleni Markadji and head of communications, the gormless George Georgiou known to everyone as GG.
They stand to lose everything if Panicos goes. Markadji, who barks orders at everyone at present, would be given responsibility of photo-copying and GG would return to being a nobody that reads the FT during his working day.
Did one of them leak the info in an attempt to deprive Panicos of his big pay-day? I can only quote Hadjiklamouris’ words of wisdom, which are libel-proof, in answer to this – “those who do not know, do not know.”
THE HOLIER than thou former rector of the Cyprus University, Professor Stavros Zenios, as we reported last week, was the only member of the support staff of the investigative committee for the economy who demanded and was granted payment for his work.
The self-regarding Zenios does not often offer his valuable services for free. However, as vice-president of the Council for the National Economy, he is offering his services free of charge because it would look good on his CV.
The Council recently decided that it should send a group of its members to offer some advice to the blonde labour minister Zeta Emilianidou on employment policy as she was deemed clueless on the matter. The members of the Council considered Zeta’s policies ineffective and believed she needed some expert advice.
Several members offered to go but Zenios said he would only help Zeta out if he was paid. His line was if the Zeta needs economics lessons then she should pay for them. If she did not pay him for lessons, it meant that she did not want to learn, concluded the altruistic Zenios.
THE LONG-HAIRED chairman of the BoC Christis Hasapis, we hear, has already fallen out with his mentor Loizos Hadjicostis, the boss of the bank employees union ETYK who put him in the top post. We do not know the reasons for the row but it is entirely possible that Hasapis disobeyed some order by the union bully.
Perhaps Mrs Hasapi, who works for the mediation service of the Labour Ministry, will employ her mediation skills in order to reconcile the two former buddies. The only problem is that as head of the mediation service responsible for dealing with industrial disputes at the banks, Mrs Hasapi was known to issue decisions always favouring ETYK.
This may explain why Hadjicostis championed her husband for the post of chairman – he may have been repaying her for her pro-union decisions. But if she now decides to mediate between Loizos and Christis would she again side with the union?
THE UNION mentality that rules in Kyproulla has produced some crazy situations. For instance, a few years ago Cyprus Airways had an abundance of captains and a serious shortage of co-pilots.
This was because co-pilots who completed a specific number of years in the position were automatically promoted to captains even if the company had no need for more captains. The promotion was stipulated in the collective agreement.
At primary schools, the union found a much more imaginative way of promoting more of its members to the post of head-teacher. As there was a limited number of such posts it persuaded the education ministry to double them. Cypriot primary schools are the only ones in the world with two head-teachers – one for the first three classes and a second head for the top three classes.
THE PRACTICE of automatic promotion regardless of an organisation’s needs has now caused big problems in the National Guard, which has more lieutenant-colonels in its ranks than second-lieutenants, the lowest rank of officer. The hierarchical pyramid is upside down in the National Guard, because promotion is an inalienable right and we have ended up with too many chiefs and not enough Indians.