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Cyprus telecoms, power, port workers strike over privatisation bill

14 February, 2014

The three largest semi-government organizations (SGOs), the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus and the Cyprus Ports Authority began strikes on Friday, protesting against a government bill which calls for the privatisation of profitable SGOs.

The four unions of EAC began their strike at 07.00. The Transmission System Operator (TSO) warned on Thursday evening that it could not rule out failure of the entire grid.

The EAC announced that consumers can be informed on power cuts through their website at www.eac.com.cy.

Workers at CYTA began a 24-hour strike from midnight in protest over the bill to privatize the organization.

CYTA workers have gathered outside their central offices today. Politicians are scheduled to visit them to express their support to their cause.

The bill titled "Privatisations Law 2014" is considered as a precondition for the disbursement of the next tranche of the €10 billion financial assistance package granted to Cyprus and will be discussed in the next Eurogroup meeting scheduled for March 10. Privatisations, considered an integral part of the Memorandum of Understanding on the conditions of the financial assistance, with a view of generating state revenue of €1.4 billion by 2018.

According to the bill, the Council of Ministers can issue decrees on the sale of state-owned organizations. Under the bill, the Council will appoint a Ministerial Committee chaired by the Finance Minister and comprising "at least four Ministers" to supervise the procedure and to provide guidance to the Privatisations Unit and the Privatisations Commissioner with a four-year mandate.