By Constantinos Psillides
EMPLOYEES in semi governmental organisations (SGO) are holding warning strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday to express their opposition to privatisation plans.
Cyprus telecommunications authority (CYTA) and Cyprus port authority (CPA) employees will go on strike today, while the electricity authority (EAC) employees are going on strike Wednesday.
The privatisations of SGOs were requested by the troika of lenders (European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund). Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said a week ago that the government will proceed with the privatisation plan, unless the unions can find another way of saving 1.4 billion euros. The minister jokingly added that the government would have to win the lottery for that to happen.
CyTA’s one hour strike today will last from 1:15 pm until 2:15 pm. In a statement released to the press, CyTA unions say that their reason for going on strike is that the government is implementing “a privatisation plan without first briefing the employees”. CyTA unions made clear that no services will be affected by the strike.
CPA employees will strike today, from 9:00 to 11:00
Cyprus port authority unions are demanding that the SGO be excluded from the privatisation proposal. “The goal of the workers is to avert privatisations and to preserve the national wealth and the public interest,” a statement released to the press said. “If we move towards that direction we will give to private interests state revenue and millions in CPA investments.”
The Cyprus electricity authority (EAC) unions met on Friday and decided that they will proceed with a two hour warning strike on Wednesday. The EAC unions’ rhetoric mirrors that of their colleagues in the other two SGO.
In a letter sent to EAC manager Stelios Stylianou, the four unions (EPOPAI, SIDIKEK, SEPAIK and SIVAIK) say that they made every effort to convince finance minister Harris Georgiades on the “negative impact a possible privatisation of EAC will have on the economy, the citizens and society in general” but didn’t get any results.
“We are saddened that in spite the severity of this issue, there has been a veil of secrecy when it comes to dealings regarding the privatisation. We are against privatisations because we are sure that it will have minimal impact on the island’s dire financial situation,” their statement said.
“We have a moral obligation to defend our country’s economy and the national resources of our semi-occupied state for future generations,” they said.
Unions said that their intention was not to inconvenience people, so essential personnel will be excluded from the strike.