Cyprus Mail

Semi government unions to take measures

Semi-government organisation (SGO) unions will strike within the next 10 days in protest over privatisation plans, necessary for the release of the next tranche of bailout funds for Cyprus.
POAS – an umbrella union representing SGOs – said on Tuesday employees in state telecoms company CyTA, the Electricity Authority and the Ports Authority would be mobilising, including possibly striking, by December 5.
POAS general secretary, Gregoris Katsellis said they were trying to coordinate with all unions belonging to the trio. He promised a “storm of reaction” against privatisations.
The finance minister recently said a roadmap for privatisation of semi government companies will probably be ready by the end of next month.
Unions immediately responded threatening “mass and combative mobilisation”. Cyprus is expected to raise some €1.4 billion from privatisations between 2016 and 2018.
A number of unions including PEO, affiliated to former ruling party AKEL, and university student unions have said they will be marching on Saturday December 14 to protest the “harsh austerity of the troika and those who align themselves with [the troika’s] paycheques”.
The troika of lenders, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, have bailed out Cyprus to the tune of €10 billion.
According to the IMF mission chief for Cyprus, Delia Velculescu, privatisations aim at increasing efficiency and transferring resources from the state to the private sector to help spur competition to the benefit of consumers, in addition to generating funds for the state.

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