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Cyprus

Government, CyTA unions still at odds over privatisation

President meets cyta unions

A meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and state telecoms company (CyTA) unions failed to bridge differences between the two sides over the organisation’s denationalisation, but they agreed however, to continue talking.

“The basic difference, which existed before concerning the denationalisation, privatisation, or issue of shares, remains,” SEK representative Elias Demetriou said, adding that the government’s position was final.

According to Demetriou, the president said that after creating a private company, with the state as the sole shareholder, an investor would be sought. The share that will be granted to the investor would be decided following consultations and discussions in parliament.

The unions demanded CyTA’s privatisation be withdrawn as a prior action relating to the terms of the island’s bailout but the president made it clear that it was not going to happen.

“He told us that none of the prior actions have been removed and none can be removed … because they are part of the international lenders’ procedures, which include informing all European member-states,” Demetriou said. “No one can change this plan.”

The two sides agreed however, to continue discussion of labour issues under the new state of affairs.

Unions still have concerns over certain aspects, which they will be discussing with the finance minister.

Those include the inability to transfer to the civil service and restrictions on collective agreements.

They also want the old company to assign services to the new one and not surrender them in the event of denationalisation, and staff to be classified as workers and not employees. They feel the term ‘workers’ offers real job security.

“These four points are important to us, and the president has given instructions to revisit them,” Demetriou said.

The union official did not rule out the possibility of industrial action as part of their efforts to stop CyTA’s denationalisation.

Demetriou urged political parties to take a clear stance on the matter, without constructive ambiguities.

“We want clear positions like (ruling) DISY and AKEL have given (for and against),” Demetriou said.

Alecos Tryfonides, the head of PASE ATIK, and also a senior member of DIKO, echoed the unions’ demand for clear positions.

Tryfonides said that in a meeting last week, his party took a clear position against privatisations and pledged to work for the modernisation of the organisation.

He called on DIKO members to stop wavering because the party chairman’s position was clear and “they give the impression that they serve ulterior interests.”

He insisted that the message was clear and any members who disagreed should leave the party.

“And this goes for the other parties who say they are against privatisations but then come up with variations, additions, and so on.”

 

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