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Petrides to hit back at opposition parties over reform bills

Constantinos Petrides

Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides is to hold a news conference on Monday to explain the implications of the rejection of the civil service reform bills by the opposition parties in the legislature on Friday.

“On Monday, a press conference on the civil service reform (will take place) because we all need to be accountable,” Petrides tweeted on Sunday.

The Undersecretary, who is also reform commissioner, expressed his disappointment on Friday when the House plenum rejected five of the six bills on the reform of the civil service. The bill on secondments and transfers was referred to the House finance committee for further discussion, while four bills were only supported by15 Disy deputies and two from Solidarity.

The most important bill, which aimed to put a ceiling on the annual increase of the public payroll, was only supported by the Disy deputies.

“Without so much as an amendment from parties, the civil service reform was rejected in its entirety. It is really saddening that the current rotten system is perpetuated,” Petrides had tweeted on Friday.

The initial package of bills which aimed changing procedures for appointments, promotions, staff evaluations and pay increases had been submitted in August 2015, but the government agreed to withdraw it after serious objections mainly from opposition parties. Amended bills were submitted to parliament in August.

As the government argued, the six bills aimed at changing the nature of the public service and safeguarding the viability of public finances.

Opposition parties rejected the bills on the grounds that they felt they did not live up to expectations and did not go far enough. They also criticised the fact that the government proposed legislation would maintain the Public Service Commission as the sole agency responsible for recruitment, promotions and staff evaluation.

Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said last week that the rejection of the bills would not pose immediate problems to public finances, even though it would open the way for bigger pay rises than the government had budgeted for in 2017. The bill on the public payroll made annual pay-rises dependent on the growth of the economy.

 

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