Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Unprivatised CyTA will go same way as Cyprus Airways

An anti-privatisation demo by CyTA employees

EVERYTHING heard at the House finance committee on Tuesday about CyTA leaves no doubt that our demagogue politicians will vote against its privatisation, no matter how many sensible arguments are used by the finance minister and regardless of how many attractive offers he make to the authority’s scandalously pampered employees.

DIKO chief Nicolas Papadopoulos along with all the other populists are capable of getting on their knees and kissing the backsides of all CyTA employees in Eleftheria Square rather than allow the cleaning up of these Augean Stables which is what the organisation has become for the state.

I mention Papadopoulos by name because his behaviour is the most bonkers and contradictory, considering DIKO is a party of a supposedly liberal ideology. AKEL is a communist party (at least this is what it claims) that just as you would expect supports the statist idea, just as you would not expect a responsible stance from Sizopoulos, Lillikas and Perdikis who move between socialist-fascism and political schizophrenia.

The question is: how can the moderate rightist businessmen, professionals and private sector employees that support DIKO tolerate Papadopoulos’ statist mentality and union-worship?

That he has led things to a point at which DIKO’s CyTA union hack Tryfonides has decided – in place of the government – as to how the property of the state should be managed is a predicament about which we should all worry.

In his public comments on the matter, Papadopoulos made a point of stressing, in a barely concealed populist style, that he had “common worries with the employees of CyTA” which should remain under state ownership. At the same time, jumping on the other side, he had no difficulty claiming that a private investor was needed because “CyTA has weaknesses and failings in its operation and has lost 50 per cent of its income.”

It would be very interesting for him to explain the “weaknesses and failings” as well as the scams and thieving like the Dromolaxia case, not to mention the squandering of €200 million, so far, on CyTA Hellas. And how would the ‘rationalisation’ take place with Tryfonides and his union partners having a neverending party in there? And what prudent investor would be interested in buying a stake in CyTA when its payroll makes up 30 per cent of its operation costs when the average for similar companies in Europe is 18 per cent?

Only idiots cannot realise that CyTA is following in the footsteps of Cyprus Airways. In a few years it will be bankrupt. And it is here that I completely disagree with the provocative offers (gifts?) the government has made to the princes of CyTA, in an attempt to persuade them to consent to privatisation, including transferring them to the public service and burdening the taxpayer with their super-wages and pensions.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that from 2008 to 2015 CyTA’s market share fell from 85 to 67 per cent. I have seen the accounts. Its turnover in 2008 was €484m, in 2012 €452m in 2013 €434, in 2014 €396m and in 2015 €384m. In other words, in this time its turnover has contracted by 21 per cent. It is a path to death, with CyTA running to meet Cyprus Airways. Consequently, there is no need for the minister running to save it. He should leave it to close down on its own and be done with it.

But there should be one main condition. The government and DISY must warn all the authority’s pampered employees from now that in their case the outrage that took place at Cyprus Airways – giving all the workers hundreds of thousands of euros of the taxpayer’s money in compensation – will not be repeated. They should know from now that when CyTA closes they will have to leave in the same way as all employees leave a bankrupt company.

And if they do not like it they could ask their guardian Papadopoulos to pay them compensation.

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