THE operation of a nursery did not only help families and children but also contributed decisively to the harmonisation of family and professional life of working people and especially working women, said President Anastasiades at the opening ceremony for the new Pasydy nursery by the old Nicosia general hospital. He congratulated the civil servants’ union for establishing a super-modern, model nursery, in record time, just 10 months after the opening of another nursery/kindergarten in the premises of the old government printing office, by the old GSP stadium.
This was the eighth nursery/kindergarten opened by Pasydy, five of which were the union’s ownership said Anastasiades, saying that this contributed to the broader political effort of providing women with every facility so as to participate in the productive process. This was one way of looking at the Pasydy nurseries which were another manifestation of the privileges extended to civil servants by the state. The new nursery, according to Anastasiades, was built on state land, “on a long-term lease with financial facilities provided by the government.” He also mentioned that the government printing office premises was given to Pasydy on a “favourable long-term lease.”
Which other association representing working people is granted state buildings or state land, in prime locations, on favourable long-term leases by the government to set up nurseries for workers? The two Pasydy nurseries mentioned by the president on Wednesday are on prime real estate, in the centre of the capital that could have earned the government a lot of money if they were sold or leased on the open market. Granting them to Pasydy on “favourable terms”, which means at below market prices, is a squandering of public money even if the real estate is used for a good cause such as helping working mothers.
The fact is that the Pasydy nurseries are not for all working mothers but only for working mothers or fathers employed by the civil service. And prime real estate is being used so that the nurseries are only a few minutes walks from the place of work of the pampered civil servants. They cannot be expected to go out of their way in order to drop their children off at a nursery so their union is granted prime real estate by the state to make their working life as easy as possible. This privileged treatment of this overpaid, underworked class of workers is disgraceful.
In the old Soviet Union members of the Communist Party enjoyed special privileges that set them apart from the rest of the people. In Cyprus, the state treats our civil servants like the Soviets treated the members of the Communist Party, even though we are a democracy, in which everyone supposedly has the same rights.