By Constantinos Psillides
CIVIL SERVANTS are to stage a two-hour warning strike next week, protesting parliament’s decision to consider cutting their 13th month bonus by 3 per cent and to give the money to poor families.
Any reduction in public sector wages is illegal, said public servants union (PASYDY) chairman Glafkos Hadjipetrou yesterday, announcing the two-hour strike for next Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting at the trade union offices, Hadjipetrou said the issue “was very serious” and added that public sector wages are protected by the constitution. “Any reduction should be based solely on constitutional grounds”, he added.
Hadjipetrou said that that PASYDY is constantly being taken by surprise when it comes to salary cuts, explaining that he understands the government’s need to reign in expenses but that “they need to operate within legal boundaries”.
“The public sector paid enough”, he added.
House President Giannakis Omirou, who tabled the proposal, dismissed the PASYDY boss claims, saying that there is no issue with the constitution. Omirou repeated that this will be a one time cut.
The PASYDY chairman went on to say that the current economic situation is the fault of “wrong political decisions and the criminal mistakes of bankers”.
A study to determine whether a one-time 3 per cent cut of the 13th salary is feasible will be completed in 14 days, said EVROKO leader Dimitris Syllouris.
If feasible, parliament will then draft a bill to be discussed by the plenum.
Greens party MP Giorgos Perdikis estimates that five to six million euros could be collected.
Party leaders also wanted to examine the possibility of a ceiling on public sector wages.
Syllouris added that “it’s high time for those with high wages to pay for the needy”.
Wages in the public sector have been cut by about 12.5 per cent as staggered cuts were imposed as part of austerity measures to shore up the economy. An additional 3 per cent flat reduction will also kick in on January 1.