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Cyprus

EAC unions threaten new strike next week

EAC unions are against privatisation

By Andria Kades

ONE of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) trade unions is threatening to strike next week demanding that the power utility be excluded from a controversial bill that will allow the state to control several organisations.

“If the particular legislation includes the EAC, the consequences will be damaging for the nation, citizens and the economy with a consequent increase in the price of electricity,” said Andreas Panorkos, leader of EPOPAI – the union that issued the warnings.

The bill to corporatise semi government organisations, particularly the EAC, is an attempt to “circumvent the spirit and letter of the Constitution,” he added as, “if adopted, it will give ruling powers legal coverage to dispose of the national assets at will and give them powers of the private sector.”

On Monday morning, all EAC unions will convene to jointly decide what measures they will take based on what decisions parliament might make.

Panorkos argued that the government has violated European directives that outline there should be discussions with employees before submitting the bill to parliament.

“All our limits have been exhausted,” he said while specifying that the board sent a letter to the finance ministry outlining the reasons as to why the EAC in particular should be excluded from the bill or else the consequences would be catastrophic to EAC.

The unions were striking in March, demanding that the tender for a study on the legal unbundling, corporatisation and privatisation of the EAC would be undertaken by themselves, the EAC and the energy ministry, keeping the Privatisations Commissioner out.

After threats of outages during Easter and disruptions to economic activity, the government eventually conceded and unions got their way.

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