POLITICAL PARTIES issue about half a dozen announcements a day about every issue they can think of. Most relate to items in the news and when there is a shortage of issues they release statements about the Cyprus problem repeating what they have said hundreds of times before. On Wednesday, for instance, the party announcements covered the following range of issues: natural gas, cruelty to pets, the format of the National Council, the cutting of 40 cypress trees, overcrowded hospitals, the national health scheme, corruption in the police force, the immovable property tax and entry into public universities.
Interestingly there was not a single announcement about the two-hour work stoppage by ground staff at Paphos airport, which disrupted 23 flights and inconvenienced thousands of passengers. Not one party felt obliged to take a stand against the industrial action aimed at hurting tourism, the only sector of our economy that is thriving. Parties that take an uncompromising moral stand on the most trivial issues just ignored the grossly irresponsible behaviour of a group of workers that are threatening to cause irreparable damage to the tourism industry if their demands were not satisfied.
None of the parties saw any danger from this action, which was reminiscent of the behaviour of Cyprus Airways unions, which would invariably call strikes at the peak of the tourist season in order to screw even more money out of the company.
Last month, the hotel workers’ unions had also threatened strikes during peak season if their pay demands were not met. Again, the parties, with the exception of DISY, stayed quiet, indicating that they did not object to this blatant use of blackmail.
After all, our parties are constantly waxing lyrical about “workers’ sacred right to strike”; they even oppose the regulating of strikes at essential services such as hospitals, ports and power stations.
They do not realise the harm they cause the country by never taking a stand against union excesses aimed at hurting the whole country. This is one of the main reasons unions behave so irresponsibly.
If our political parties all issued announcements condemning the industrial action at the airports, warning about the dangers this posed to the economy and urging restraint the unions would not call strikes on the flimsiest excuse. Perhaps this is too much to expect from the political parties that, as a principle, never take a stand against groups representing more than 50 people, for fear of losing a dozen votes. Tourists are of no concern to the parties, because despite funding the recovery of our economy, they do not vote in Cyprus.