Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Audacity doesn’t begin to explain the SGO unions

By Loucas Charalambous

ACCORDING to the Thesaurus, synonyms for the word ‘audacity’ include daring, impudence, cheek, nerve. I think that none of these words can adequately describe the behaviour of Cyprus’ trade unionists.

As regards the leadership of the CyTA and EAC unions, we would have to invent a new word to better describe their loathsome behaviour that goes beyond all the known bounds of audaciousness and vileness. Every time I hear the union bosses of these two organisations, not to mention the chairmen, I cannot help thinking about the criminal responsibility of our political demagogues who created these “small kingdoms”.

The semi-governmental organisations are bombs in the foundations of the Cypriot economy that need to be de-activated. You only have to hear the stupidities and nonsense uttered by their management and unions to realise that their privatisation is a pressing national imperative.

The Chairman of the EAC, Charalambos Tsouris was recently asked to respond to the conclusion reached by the auditor-general that the EAC could not carry on operating in the same way, and he said: “If this conclusion was correct it would worry us, but it is not.”

One is left speechless by his response. The auditors of the EAC have refused to sign the audited accounts of the organisation because they no longer consider it a viable concern. This means that the EAC is insolvent and that it cannot meet its financial obligations. If something similar was said of a private business, it would have immediately gone into administration.

But the clueless chairman of the EAC still believed there was no reason to worry and insists that this was a “profitable organisation”. Why has the minister in charge of the EAC not advised Tsouris to stop talking such utter nonsense?

The mentality of the EAC and Cyta union bosses is no different from that of Tsouris. They are currently preparing ‘mobilisations’ and strikes in an attempt to force the government to abandon privatisation plans, which are included in the memorandum of understanding.

Their only concern, which they keep repeating, is the safeguarding of the “conquests” of the workers, in other words the super-privileges such as the big salaries, non-contributory pensions and retirement bonuses. And in one voice, seconded by the political demagogues and the bosses of SEK and PEO unions, they keep warning us about the “sell-off of public wealth”, which is how they describe their bankrupt “small kingdoms”.

The funny thing is that, in their confusion and despair and without realising it, they admit the rottenness that pervades their “small kingdoms”. They are now seeking the setting up of a voluntary retirement scheme for 650 workers, as this, according to a union boss, would “allow the reduction of charges, to the benefit of the consumer”.

Without any sense of shame, they openly admit that the organisations are over-staffed by hundreds of workers, whose wage costs push up charges to the consumer. These hundreds of unnecessary workers would not have been employed by the organisations which will now have to pay millions in redundancy compensation to them, if CyTA and EAC were not the fiefdoms of the political parties.

This is the “public wealth” that must not be sold off according to the leadership of AKEL, EDEK and DIKO and the rest of the political scoundrels. And the most depressing thing is that the finance minister negotiates with all these people, telling them nonsense of the type that “if we win the lotto”, we would not have to privatise the sheikdoms of CyTA and EAC.

Fortunately, there is the troika, which I hope will not betray us and rid us of these corrupt “small kingdoms”.

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