By Kyriacos Kyriacou – Nicosia
Hundreds Cyta workers are currently protesting outside the Presidential Palace in capital Nicosia against the government-troika bill to privatize semi-state organizations. The bill discussed in the parliament must be approved by March 5, in order to restore public debt sustainability, according to the government.
The protest started at 10 am. Angry workers are shouting: “Leave Cyta (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority) alone.” “Cyta belongs to the people.” “We demand our jobs and pensions secured.”
The Presidential Palace is surrounded by strong police forces and things seem to be under control at the moment (11:30).
The four trade unions are planning to protest once again outside the Parliament tomorrow morning, while the MPs will be discussing on the bill.
Employees in the semi-state organisations Electricity Authority (EAC) and Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) have been on strike since Monday. EAC will cause new power cuts today – for the second day in a row- in different areas of Cyprus. Yesterday dozens were trapped in elevators due to the power cuts, while traffic lights were out of order in certain locations in Nicosia.
Speaking on behalf the four trade unions of EAC, Andreas Panorkos said yesterday that the measures will be staggered according to developments on the matter. He called on the government to withdraw the Bill and to initiate talks with all interested parties.
In late March 2013 the Cypriot authorities agreed with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the Troika, on a €10 billion bailout.
One of the bailout’s preconditions was the implementation of a privatisations plan covering the disposal of Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and the Cyprus Ports Authority by 2016 and the Cyprus Electricity Authority by 2018 to generate €1.4 billion in order to restore public debt sustainability.