By George Psyllides
CIVIL servants were up in arms yesterday after suggestions that their retirement bonus would be taxed, while it was also reported that many have already applied to leave early.
The reactions came after Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said the matter was under consideration as part of the Troika-imposed economic adjustment programme.
“The issue is being considered from the perspective of ironing out existing distortions of public service reform issues, and of fiscal sustainability,” he said. “All possibilities are on the table, but no decision has been made yet.”
PASYDY, the union representing permanent central government workers, said such a move would be illegal.
The union said while everyone knew it was the banks that were to blame for the crisis, the known detractors of the civil service are seeking further measures against the workers in the broader public sector.
“Especially recently, on a daily basis they are presenting the need to tax the bonus as an imperative,” the union said in a statement, “a blatantly illegal proposal.”
PASYDY expressed the hope that the government would not give in to the unlawful inducements and will show respect to the constitution so that “together we will manage to securely lead the economy to recovery, without unnecessary confrontations.”
The union has appealed the austerity measures at the Supreme Court.
Secondary education teachers OELMEK also voiced concern over the minister’s pronouncement, asking for an immediate meeting.
The union said it cannot accept any measures that will once more hit public workers.
“Workers in the public sector have already contributed substantively to the reconstruction of the economy,” OELMEK said.
Nurses said the risk of mass early retirements was visible, a fact that will affect the operation of state health facilities.