By Constantinos Psillides
CIVIL servants union (PASYDY) cancelled yesterday a scheduled meeting of its central secretariat, which was supposed to ratify Friday’s decision to go ahead with a two-hour warning strike, out of respect for the death of former president Glafcos Clerides.
In a statement released to the press, PASYDY said that the decision to cancel the meeting was necessary to show the union’s “grief for the loss of the historic leader and former president”.
PASYDY did not clarify whether the announced strike will itself be postponed or cancelled.
The strike followed parliament’s decision to consider cutting civil servants 13th salary by 3 per cent and to give the money to poor families.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting at the trade union offices on Friday, PASYDY boss Glafcos Hadjipetrou said the issue “was very serious”.
He said that PASYDY is constantly being taken by surprise when it comes to salary cuts, explaining that he understands the government’s need to rein in expenses but that “they need to operate within legal boundaries”.
According to Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis, some five to six million euros could be collected from shaving the public sector’s annual bonus. Party leaders also wanted to examine the possibility of a ceiling on public sector wages.
Arguing against the 3 per cent cut, Hadjipetrou said that public sector workers “have suffered cuts well beyond 30 per cent” in the last two years.
The PASYDY boss included in his estimate the 17.5 per cent average in income loss in the form of pay scale rises, which were frozen by the troika of lenders until 2016.
Breaking down the cuts
On September 1, 2011 government began implementing an incremental pay cut, for those making over 2,500 euros a month. The pay cut ranged from 2. 5 per cent to 4.5 per cent for those making over 4,000 euros.
In October 2011 the public sector began to contribute to their retirement fund for the first time, taking another 3 per cent of their salaries. A further 1.25 per cent was taken for the widows and orphans fund.
On January 1, 2012 a further incremental decrease in wages took effect. The reduction ranged from 6.5 per cent for those making over 1,000 euros to 12.5 per cent for everyone making over 4,000 euros.
Also, again for the first time, public sector employees took a pay reduction of 1.5 per cent to contribute to their healthcare costs. Every public sector worker was entitled to free health care as part of their benefits package.
The government also decided that the public sector contribution to the social security fund would increase from 3.45 per cent to 3.75 per cent, adding a further 0.30 per cent.
On January 1, 2014 an extra 3 per cent flat pay cut will kick in.
PASYDY also notes that when it comes to estimating the high-paid public workers income, people should also take into consideration that they are also subjected to an income tax.