Parliament on Monday gave the green light for unlocking more than 1,800 positions in the public sector, as requested by the government, with opposition Disy complaining about the high cost to the taxpayer.

The pro-government parties, plus Akel, approved the unlocking of the 1,851 jobs – covering the civil service, semi-governmental organisations and municipalities.

Opposition Disy opposed the move, expressing concern over the huge price tag to be borne by the taxpayers. The party cited similar earlier warnings from the Fiscal Council.

“We recognise that certain needs exist, and we were ready to unlock a smaller number of jobs,” Disy spokesman Onoufrios Koulla later told reporters.

But, he added, the government was unwilling to compromise.

“Already, credit rating agencies have noted the increase in [public] payroll as well as other permanent inelastic expenditures. We disagree completely with this return to practices of the past.”

Of the 1,851 positions, 1,536 relate to the civil service, and 315 to the broader public sector.

In the civil service, most of these jobs relate to the education ministry – covering teaching needs for the 2023-2024 academic year – followed by the finance ministry and then the foreign ministry.

In addition, 278 positions in the police and another 219 in the fire department. Plus 315 first-appointment positions in the broader public sector – municipalities and semi-governmental organisations (including 126 for the Electricity Authority of Cyprus).

The University of Cyprus gets 29 new positions, and 21 go to the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

A small number of positions opened up in independent agencies – such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Cyprus News Agency.

The en masse creation of first-appointment jobs in the public sector had been approved by the cabinet on April 12 – just a little over a month into the administration of Nikos Christodoulides. Most of the positions slated for unlocking had, however, already gotten the nod prior to the elections.

Previously in parliament, the finance ministry said these jobs had already been approved in the state budget – meaning the last budget submitted by the previous administration of Nikos Anastasiades.