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COMMENT

Cyprus Editorial: Bring in the army

26 February, 2014 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

What’s the point of having “essential services” if we can’t protect them? Who decides when power is switched on and off in Cyprus? And, why have there been no arrests of the hooligans who tried to storm parliament, supposedly the bastion of democracy in our 54-year-old Republic?
These are all fair and simple questions that an angry public is asking, getting few answers from the government that seems to be a bystander in the rapid flow of events that are taking place.
We all know that the riotous EAC staffers who caused the troubles, smashed windows and illegally cut off the power at the House of Representatives on Monday were provoked by their trade union bosses, in turn following orders by politicians who want to see trouble and no progress, on whatever front.
It is ludicrous for public opinion to believe the lies that are being dished out that EAC employees will all lose their jobs and be thrown onto the streets. These are lies concocted by the union bosses who area seeing their grip on public institutions waning by the day. The argument here is not for people to keep their jobs, but in fact for highly-rewarded employees to lose their perks and their pensions reduced, to which they have never contributed substantially, anyway.
Besides, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades made it very clear on Monday when he told the unions that as the EAC privatisation is not slated for 2018, it would be premature to talk about job losses, pay cuts and reduction of benefits. But he is a solo crusader on a full-frontal military campaign, with hardly any others to his left or right. It seems that other politicians and party leaders have taken the easy route of “let’s wait and see” and do not dare stand up to labour leaders, even reassuring them that “your jobs are safe”.
President Anastasiades, speaking through his spokesman, said that the law on essential services will be upheld at any cost. Did he mean cowering to union tactics until the next demonstration?
Public opinion has now turned fully against the EAC workers who have not yet realised that it is not the one hour of power cuts they imposed that is the trouble. It is the audacity that they have the keys to the power stations and they can get away with anything.
Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis should take those keys away from them, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou should make some arrests, and Defence Minister Photis Photiou should have the army on standby. If this dangerous tactic of taking essential services into their own hands continues (and it will throughout the hot summer months), then perhaps EAC staff should no longer man the power stations or the distribution network.