The public servants union Pasydy issued an announcement on Tuesday expressing its “intense displeasure” over the legislature’s approval of regulations, which deprive its members and their families (as well as public sector retirees) of the right to medical care at state hospitals that is not covered by Gesy.

Pasydy said it had sent a letter of protest to the House president, after the new regulation were approved last month as well as the party leaders and the ministers of health and finance. This “unilateral action by the legislature, without any social dialogue among the interested parties constitutes a flagrant violation of labour conventions,” which would have a “negative impact on industrial relations in our country.”

So strong is the public servants’ sense of entitlement that they have the audacity to complain publicly because, quite rightly, they have been deprived of a privilege by the parties. Enjoying healthcare at state hospitals that are not covered by Gesy is not a right but preferential treatment. Public servants do not contribute a bigger percentage of their salary towards Gesy than anyone else, so by what reasoning should they and their families be entitled to healthcare that is not available to anyone else, free of charge?

“The removal by the House of an acquired right of a section of workers constitutes an injustice and unfair discrimination against public employees,” said the union, which is under the impression that it is an injustice for a group of workers to lose their privileges. Pasydy is a champion of selfish unionism, a champion of preferential treatment of its members by the state while displaying total disregard for the rest of us – the second-class citizens of this country.

What constitutes an injustice, and a case of discrimination, is having the state treat public employees differently than all other workers, for no legitimate reason. This nonsense about acquired rights, which is code language for privileges, must stop. What they are demanding is privileged treatment by the state – they pay the same towards Gesy as everyone else, but they want more healthcare services made available to them because they believe, it is their right to have preferential treatment.

We often criticise the political parties, but in this case they deserve our praise. Not only did they take away a scandalous privilege enjoyed by public employees, but they did so without engaging in a dialogue with Pasydy, because the matter was considered non-negotiable. There can be no consensus or compromise on such an issue. What would Pasydy propose? Maintaining just a little bit of the privilege because it was an acquired right?

The legislature handled the matter commendably, even ignoring the finance ministry’s objections to the amendment of the regulations. We hope the parties will stand firm because Pasydy will try to reverse the decision. No privileged group surrenders its privileges with putting up a fight.