Sek trade union called on employers to respect workers in the public sector and be thankful because it was the unions that saved Cyprus from bankruptcy in 2013.
In a written response to criticism after they called a three-hour stoppage next Thursday over the government’s refusal to satisfy their demands for a 2.2 per cent pay rise, the union said their claims never put public finances in danger and their stance, especially Sek’s, had prevented bankruptcy in the recent past.
“Political parties and employers, which recently criticised unions, ought to know this reality well,” Sek said, adding that they were demanding implementation of an agreement they struck with the finance ministry on the administration of pay issues in the wider public sector.
The union said the government itself had brought semi-government organisations to their knees by syphoning cash to cover fiscal deficits.
“Between 2002 and 2006, a total of CYP 237.7m (€401m) were drawn from Cyta and the Eac,” the union said.
Sek had disagreed with the practice but its protests fell on deaf ears, it said.
“With time, mostly neoliberal forces and employment groups blamed problems in semi-government organisations on the wage earners’ demands.”
The union said wage earners had agreed to whatever was asked of them to tackle the crisis, in contrast with employers who refused to pay the annual company levy, they tax evaded and employed undeclared workers depriving state coffers of millions.