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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Civil servants to keep 13th salary ]

Civil servants to keep 13th salary

Jacqueline Agathocleous

PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias passed on a pledge to public servants yesterday that the government would not touch their 13th salaries following outrage by unions on Wednesday when Finance Minister Vassos Shiraly declined to either confirm or deny that such a move was in the works.

The news was welcomed yesterday by public servants union PASYDY, which has remained adamant throughout the implementation of austerity measures that the solution does not lie in cutbacks to the public payroll despite suggestions to the contrary by the EU and the IMF. 

While civil servants are now guaranteed to keep their 13th salaries, many workers in the private sector have had to do without theirs as their employers cannot afford to pay up. 

Finance Minister Shiarly said yesterday he never said anything about putting the 13th salary on the table for possible suspension during Wednesday’s news conference where he briefed reporters on plans to consult with all social partners for a new package of measures to plug a €150m-€200m fiscal shortfall.

“I categorically deny that I made such a statement; anyone can check the clip and see,” he said. “What I did say was that any measures needed to cover the deviation from the (2012 target) deficit, which is 2.5 per cent of GDP [gross domestic product], will be taken after all the social partners have been consulted.”

Shiarly added: “I want to reassure our public and all those who may be listening from outside Cyprus that my determination and my government’s determination is that the fiscal deficit will be restricted to the minimum percentage of 2.5 per cent. Our credibility is very important to us. In no way will we deviate from the percentage that I mentioned.”

Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said yesterday he was “authorised by the President” to give assurances that the current government “would not touch” the 13th salaries.

“This is the President’s commitment to the trade unions...there is no issue of cutting the 13th salary,” Stefanou said.

He repeated the government’s intention to consult with all social partners before any measures are taken. “This is a principle the government will not deviate from.”

Public service union PASYDY head, Glafcos Hadjipetrou, yesterday relayed the union’s willingness to accept measures to cover the deficit. “When we are invited, we will enter discussions. But it is time for us to recognise the real root of the evil,” said Hadjipetrou, which he said was Cypriot banks’ exposure to Greek bonds.

“If the problem (with the economy) could be resolved just with cuts, be assured that we would accept gladly,” said Hadjipetrou.

Ruling AKEL’s Christos Alekou, said issues such as the 13th salary should be handled cautiously. Much ado had been created over nothing, he said. “Workers are justifiably panicking.”

DIKO leader Marios Garoyian said his party was waiting to see what the government’s plans. The party had its own thoughts and proposals to submit, he said.

EDEK boss Yiannakis Omirou said the burden should be taken by those who could bear it, and not by the workers.

Meanwhile, the House Finance Committee yesterday decided to release 17 per cent of the funds for public servants’ benefits for May.

The government had initially requested the funds for June be released as well, but the committee deemed it preferable to await the new developments from Shiarly’s meetings with the parties on the economy.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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