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Civil servants to take pay cuts case to ECHR

Pasydi 01
Photo: Christos Theodorides

The head of the civil servants union Pasydy said on Tuesday they intend to take recourse with the European Court of Human Rights over pay cuts imposed on the broader public sector in 2012.

General secretary of the union Glafcos Hadjipetrou said in a speech that they had no choice but to seek remedies outside Cyprus after courts here ruled against civil servants.

In April this year the supreme court reversed a decision by the administrative court which had earlier ruled that salary cuts to civil servants violated their right to property.

The pay cuts were implemented in 2012 as part of an austerity drive.

The government quickly appealed the administrative court’s decision, issued in March 2019. Had the civil servants also prevailed at the supreme court, it would have cost the state close to a billion euros in backpay compensation.

Hadjipetrou’s remarks came during the annual Pasydy congress, which had initially been scheduled for April but got cancelled due to the coronavirus situation.

The congress continues on Wednesday, when members will vote for a new general secretary.

Hadjipetrou himself is contesting a seventh term as general secretary of the union.

The 75-year-old is the longest serving general secretary of Pasydy, having served for 24 years and six terms.

In his speech to the congress, Hadjipetrou ran through the problems facing the civil service, including understaffing in several departments.

He said the blanket freeze on new hires, instituted in the wake of the 2013 financial meltdown, has turned the civil service into “the poor relative” while hundreds of positions were gradually opened up for people working for the central government.

“We are not in favour of returning to the practice of mass hiring, aware that the state needs to implement a balanced fiscal policy so that public finances remain robust,” Hadjipetrou noted.

“On the other hand, any hiring must be made equitably and based on real needs in sectors which are understaffed.”

Initially founded as an association in 1927, Pasydy was established as a union in 1947.

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