Political parties of the House finance committee unanimously backed the amendment of regulations at Cyta that would ensure no employee could ever be made redundant.

All other semi-governmental organisations are like the public service, which cannot fire any worker because of redundancy. Cyta is the only SGO at which the board could, in theory, make workers redundant because of organisational restructuring and job cuts.

Although this power has never been exercised by Cyta, union representatives appearing before the committee insisted, however it should be abolished. Elias Demetriou, head of Oio-Sek said the redundancy rule existed for 61 years and constituted “discrimination and injustice for Cyta employees”.

Alecos Tryfonides, head of the Pase-Cyta union, told the committee that this was an “anachronistic regulation which does not recognise the public employee status of Cyta workers. The regulations do not safeguard public service positions.”

Disy deputy Onoufrios Koullas noted that amendments of the Cyta regulations had been proposed by the government in recent years and would have settled the matter. He said his party agreed that Cyta employees should not be subject to redundancy rules, as is the case in other SGOs.

Akel’s Stefanos Stefanou, a co-sponsor of the proposal, pointed out that the amendments Disy wanted to pass were related to efforts to privatise Cyta.

“With regard to the earlier proposals mentioned which may or may not have encompassed the withdrawal of this provision, we are happy to just vote on this specific proposal doing away with the dismissal clause and nothing else,” said Stefanou.

A finance ministry representative, however, noted that there is an element of misperception about the current clause applicable to Cyta, explaining that the term ‘firing’ is wrongly used and that ‘retirement’ is more accurate, indicating the ability of some Cyta employees to opt for voluntary, early retirement.

A representative of the Cyta board explained that the organisation was different from other SGOs because it faced competition from private companies. Without the ability to make redundancies its ability to compete would be restricted.

Disy MP Marios Mavrides briefly broke rank with his party to voice his concern with the proposed ban on redundancies for Cyta, as this would affect its ability to compete.

“While I do realise that at semi-governmental organisations there are no redundancies and firings, when an organisation is in competition with other private companies, which can reduce staff numbers, it will be at a disadvantage,” Mavrides said.