By George Psyllides
THE public sector should focus on improving productivity, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday, as the largest government workers’ union PASYDY expressed readiness to work on reforms.
The island is going through difficult times, the president said, and it was imperative that the public sector concentrated on increasing productivity and drastically cutting its operating expenses.
“I will not mention what has been done,” he said, speaking at PASYDY’s annual conference in Nicosia. “I am noting all the things that have not been done and they are still a lot.”
Anastasiades said they could be achieved if everyone worked together.
“The public service must contribute to the restructuring of state services and meet the increasing public demands for good administration, meritocracy, transparency … accountability, and, mainly, upgrading the quality of service,” he said.
PASYDY chief Glafkos Hadjipetrou said there was no question of not co-operating with the new civil service reform commissioner Irena Georgiades.
He expressed the union’s readiness “to discuss all pending issues through the established procedures with the aim of achieving rational solutions.”
PASYDY had refused to accept the authority of the previous commissioner — Emanouella Lambrianides — urging its members not to take orders from her.
The union – which in recent years has argued against almost all austerity measures as the island continued edging closer to financial ruin – had avoided discussing the core issue of public sector reforms.
Instead, the union focused on the appointment of Lambrianides as public sector reform commissioner, arguing that it was political and therefore at odds with her position as a civil servant. This invalidated her authority, PASYDY had said.
The new commissioner emphasised the need for reform, highlighting that primarily demand for change is coming from public servants themselves, who can see the system’s dysfunctions up close.
But everyone’s contribution was necessary to make change happen, Georgiades told the Cyprus News Agency, adding that she had no doubt the two sides would co-operate to achieve a common goal.
“Reform can be planned and pretty, and well written studies can be carried out, but its success depends on implementation on the ground,” she said. “And it is the public servants who will implement it and no one else.”