By Peter Stevenson
AROUND 350 Electricity Authority (EAC) employees will accept early retirement packages by the end of next year according to chairman Charalambos Tsouris.
The chairman told CyBC on Monday that a plan had been drawn up to reduce the number of employees at the EAC. The finance ministry has to approve the plan.
“We are looking at a package which is aimed at handing early retirement to around 350 people so we can put the organisation back on the right track,” he said.
He admitted that the EAC was ‘over-populated’ and that it could operate perfectly well with fewer people but he criticised the Finance Minister Harris Georgiades for refusing to meet with the EAC to discuss the matter.
“Of course the EAC can operate perfectly well with less personnel and it is not a secret that SGOs have been overpopulated, but the finance minister said that he doesn’t need to discuss the matter with us as he has all the information he needs, and he has never called us for a discussion despite our demands for dialogue,” he said.
Tsouris then reminded listeners that the government has systematically borrowed money from the coffers of SGOs over the years and owes some €7 billion to the social insurance fund.
“What will happen when the SGOs are privatised and these private companies come and demand that the government gives them back the money they borrowed so that the state would not collapse?” he asked.
“This needs to be considered by whoever is pushing for privatisations to take place because SGOs are not just organisations that are very important, in my opinion, but they are also owed a large amount of money by the state,” he said.
In June, the auditor-general Chrystalla Georghadji had said the company should have expedited the process of streamlining its structure in a bid to cut operating costs and improve its financial situation. In her view, “no substantive measures had been put in place to restructure/rationalise the organisation while actions that had taken place were rather circumstantial and achieving the undertaking is questionable.”