Cyprus Mail

EAC union call to avoid privatisation

SATISFACTION with party involvement in public utilities was expressed yesterday by EPOPAI, the biggest trade union of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) in a letter to the heads of parliamentary parties.

But the union said in its closing statements in the letter singing the praises of party politics that it remained firmly against any privatisation and asked the party chiefs to “act in a way that [privatisation] can be avoided”.

The EAC is one of the semi-governmental organisations that could be privatised as part of Cyprus’ agreement with its international lenders. The organisation has no competitors but faces serious cash flow problems that have prompted the auditor-general to question whether it could stay in operation in the foreseeable future. The EAC has prepared an action plan to try to meet its liquidity needs in the near future.

EPOPAI, which has agreed to cutbacks in allowances but warned against any further loss of employee income, said it wanted to weigh in on a discussion on public utilities given its own experience in the EAC.

“We consider the party presence of capable and worthwhile individuals in the boards of public utilities useful and beneficial,” EPOPAI said. The union said having a number of parties on the boards of semi-governmental organisations offered “positive and constructive results” through discussion.

Public utilities should become more flexible and more effective and new staff should be admitted on account of their merit, EPOPAI said. But promotions to senior positions should remain the responsibilities of the boards who know their staff best, EPOPAI said.

“Because board members need to be politicised persons in order to be effective, they must have within their control the whole range of the activities of the organisation and consequently of the responsibility of accounting through parties for their actions,” EPOPAI said.

The union was referring to a recent decision by parliament to take away from boards of semi-governmental organisations the power to appoint and promote people and assign it instead to the public service commission.

The measure is due to come into force in July 2015, when new members are due to be appointed in the public service commission.

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