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Cyprus

Georgiades warns CyTA unions not to cling to the past

By George Psyllides

In the process of denationalisation, the state will set up a new telecommunications company that will take over most operations currently carried out by CyTA, in a bid to attract investment, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday.

In a speech before the members of CyTA worker union PASE, the minister reiterated the government’s pledge that all rights would be secured.

Georgiades said the opportunities for CyTA were linked with its transfer to a new regime as he warned of the risks of clinging to the structure and mentality of past decades “under the illusion that attachment to the past would lead to the future.”

The plan, Georgiades said, was to create a new state company, which would take over the biggest part of the services provided by CyTA.

Workers can then choose to join the new entity, or retire, or continue to be employed at the public sector.

“In any case, the workers would get opportunities and choices … the pension rights will be fully secured, and no employee would lose their status unless they choose to do so,” the minister said. “And certainly, no worker would be laid off.”

The government faces an uphill battle with privatisations, as opposition parties, which have the majority in parliament, are against them.

Main opposition AKEL has said it was processing a proposal to suspend privatisations until 2017.

PASE chairman Giorgos Miltiadous said AKEL’s proposal was their idea so that time would be given to CyTA to reorganise and to the island to exit the crisis, thus avoiding the sell-off of the organisation.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, PASE general-secretary Alecos Tryfonides suggested that the transfer of operations to a new company were related  to the difficulty in changing the island’s constitution, which demands a two-thirds majority.

Tryfonides reiterated that privatisations were a “national crime.”

“Sale is not an investment; I repeat that so that the Cypriot people understand that selling your property is not an investment,” he said. “Investment is when a foreign investor comes and creates their own telecoms company and competes with CyTA and we do not fear competition.”

 

 

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