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Our View: The greed of public servants has no limits

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People that work in the public sector may be referred to as public servants, but this is a misnomer if ever there was one. Rather than serve the public, these people have made it their mission to maximise their earnings at the expense of the taxpayer, snatching every last cent they can. When they cannot achieve this through strike threats and protests they take their grievances to the courts which normally vindicate them.

It is the court which ruled, some years ago, that wages and pensions of a public servant are ‘the property’ of the recipient and cannot be tampered with. How the judges came to this conclusion remains a mystery as wages and pensions do not have the attributes of property – they cannot be sold, transferred or inherited. This is now a precedent and was cited in the latest ruling of the administrative which decided that the 1.5 per cent deduction from public servants’ salaries, for medical care, prior to the introduction of Gesy was unconstitutional.

Nineteen public employees had taken legal action against the state, claiming the deduction was illegal. The decision was based on the fact that the deduction was carried out through the general regulations on hospitals and not by law. If it had been implemented by law, it would have been constitutional. The deduction had been imposed when the state was in dire financial trouble and the government wanted to reduce the public payroll.

The court ruled that the tax was discriminatory because it applied only to those who were paid by the state. It did not consider however that public employees were entitled to free medical care at state hospitals. Why was it unlawful for them to be charged for the free healthcare and medicine they were entitled to? Private sector workers had to pay to use hospitals and for medicine, unless they could prove they were low-income earners.

So why had the court decided it was discriminatory for public employees to be charged, through the 1.5 per cent tax, for healthcare, when the state hospitals could no longer offer it to them for free? Should private sector workers have also had 1.5 per cent deducted from their salaries for healthcare they were not entitled to? It just does not make any sense.

The most depressing thing, however, is that this grotesque sense of entitlement, is part of the culture of many public employees, whose sole objective is to take as much as possible from the taxpayer. They did not care that their employer was on the verge of bankruptcy and the introduction of the cuts was aimed at helping the state survive. It was not enough that, a few years ago, they won another related case brought against the state over pay cuts, costing the taxpayer millions, they also wanted the 1.5 per cent deduction for healthcare back.

In Cyprus, serving the public is all about taking as much money as possible from it.

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