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Cyprus

Public servants want things to ‘go back to normal’

Left: PASYDY boss Glafcos Hadjipetrou (CNA)

The road to economic stability and recovery is long but the island must prepare to return to normalcy, the leader of the main civil service union PASYDY said on Thursday, referring to pay cuts in the public sector.

“We must revisit the taxes and the illegal cuts, which continue for a fifth year,” he told the union’s AGM. “This will create additional consumption and investment … increase the growth rate, and lead to gradual reduction of unemployment, which is the objective.”

Hadjipetrou reminded participants’ that the union had disputed the legality of the measures, passed in 2011 and 2012, filing an appeal at the Supreme Court.

He said the measures led to an “unprecedented reduction” of the incomes of civil servants and pensioners.

Successive cuts in salaries combined with the freeze in pay rises resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in revenues, Hadjipetrou said.

In his speech at the AGM, President Nicos Anastasiades thanked the union for its responsible stance during the critical hours “our country faced and still faces.”

“It is not possible to reverse all the negative effects of the economic crisis in three years,” he said.

The president pointed that the cuts imposed in 2011 and 2012 had to be put in place to prevent worse problems for Cyprus.

He thanked PASYDY for the “constructive” way of seeking to clarify the legality of the cuts by going to court instead of taking industrial action that would have made things harder.

“That is why I spoke of the sense of responsibility that guides your actions, even when you strongly disagree,” the president said. “I want to believe that this tactic will be followed in the future by all unions that contributed in having labour peace.”

Commenting on the reforms the government was trying to implement, Anastasiades said the common goal was to bring about the necessary changes that will put an end to clientelism and create a permanent mechanism to protect public administration from shady deals.

The government had submitted six bills back in August, which introduce a modern and meritocratic mechanism of selection and human resource management in the public sector.

“You will not need party ids for your advancement,” Anastasiades said. “There are specific measurable criteria that will be taken into account and no one can be wronged or feel that they must approach party leaders or state officials.”

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