Daily Archives: July 15, 2010

Archives July 15, 2010 posted by

Christofias listens to budget advice from former Finance Ministers

PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias was “very receptive” to a range of suggestions for reducing the budget deficit put to him by former Finance Ministers, and he intends to “proceed on a consensual basis” through dialogue with the political parties and social partners, Michalis Sarris told the Mail yesterday.

“We raised a number of specific issues, and he listened very carefully – he was very receptive to what we had to say”, Sarris said.

For example, “we said it is unacceptable that public employees should not make any social security contributions, and proposed that at least new employees should contribute towards their social benefits.”

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Paphos ground handling staff in surprise strike

PAPHOS Airport’s ground handling staff went on a surprise two-hour strike yesterday, affecting 13 flights and bringing disruption to hundreds of passengers.

Without warning, the 42 employees suddenly stopped working from 2 pm until 4 pm following disputes with their employing companies Swissport and LGS Handling over their collective agreements. The companies serve all airlines at Paphos airport.

The ground handlers claim their employers are attempting to alter the initial terms and conditions of their employment.

During the strike, the employees would only drive the mobile staircases to and from planes to allow passengers to board or disembark.

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North seeks to extend ‘citizenship’

FEARS that the north’s ruling National Unity Party (UBP) could relax tough immigration restrictions, thereby allowing tens of thousands more mainland Turks to become ‘TRNC citizens’, were rife yesterday after ‘Interior Minister’ Ilkay Kamil called for a temporary halt to processing applications.

These fears were fuelled by Kamil’s refusal to say why the review had been deemed necessary, although sheer overload to the system, and the administration’s wish to reduce from 15 the number of years an immigrant must live in the north before being eligible for ‘citizenship’, are thought to be the likely causes.

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EU pressure is a blessing for the economy

EVERYONE knew that the EU would eventually place Cyprus under supervision for its excessive budget deficit but nobody expected it to happen so soon. Under the circumstances, it is just as well this has happened now as it may instill a sense of urgency in the Christofias government which has been unwilling to take the tough measures needed to reduce the deficit.

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Get the tax evaders, unions warn

THE public sector unions are prepared to contribute to a solution of the country’s economic problems, but they should not be made “easy victims” due to the government’s failure to balance the books by collecting massive tax arrears, PASYDY General Secretary Glafcos Hadjipetrou said yesterday.

Hadjipetrou said that the meeting “criticised with particular displeasure the disguised tendency of business circles and political parties to put the workers in their sights – especially the 60,000 public sector employees and their families – by supporting one-sided measures that target their income and benefits, while at the same time company profits and accumulated wealth are kept out of the firing line.”

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Angry residents call for end to exercises

TEMPERS flared at the National Guard’s (NG) Kalo Chorio firing range in Larnaca yesterday, after dozens of nearby residents demanded an end to military exercises until after the summer.

The residents’ plea follows a series of incidents and fires caused by stray shells.

The angry mob – comprising of around 100 residents from the villages Pyrga, Kalo Chorio, Agia Anna and Klavdia – successfully interrupted a military exercise that began on Tuesday and was meant to wrap up today.

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Cash for old cars scheme relaunched

THE government yesterday announced the reintroduction of its cash for clunkers programme.

The cabinet has decided to set aside €2.0 million for the scheme, which entails a €1,000 subsidy for every withdrawal with the simultaneous purchase of a new, low engine capacity, environment friendly car.

The old cars must be over 15-years-old.

Announcing the decision, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the decision would benefit the environment since new, smaller vehicles emitted fewer fumes and consume less fuel.

The move could also stimulate the new car market which has been particularly hurt because of the recession.

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Familiar faces as new CyTA board appointed

THE CABINET yesterday reappointed seven of the semi-government telecom organisation’s (CyTA) nine-member board who resigned earlier this month over allegations of irregularities regarding the sale of phone cards and double dealings in the bidding for a digital platform.

The two new members are architects Charalambos Tsouris and Antonis Antoniou who join chairman Stathis Kittis and Loizos Papacharalambous, Nicolas Georgiades, Christakis Attounas, Giorgos Tsakkistos, Stelios Americanos and Giorgos Haris.

Parties had called for a complete overhaul of the board in light of the allegations.

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Industrial action looms in Bases’ downsizing

SOVEREIGN base area (SBA) authorities and trade union reps will meet to discuss the downsizing of the SBA workforce today and tomorrow, with industrial action “inevitable” if a solution cannot be found.

Christos Tzouparas, deputy secretary of the SEK’s public sector and SBA workers federation said yesterday that the dispute followed the SBA’s decision to axe 77 positions, from all different pay grades, without following proper last in-first out (LIFO) agreement.

Around 800 staff work in the SBAs and are represented by four major trade unions, SEK, PEO, PASYDY and Turkish Cypriot union Turk-SEN.

Tzouparas said that the LIFO regulations had been used for the last 15 years, and had been applied in the termination of around 3,000 positions.

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Full bus service will be up and running by August

THE umbrella company running the new island wide bus system hopes to increase the public use of buses from two per cent to 10 percent by 2019.

“We envisaged a perfect system in the whole city and district of Nicosia, an easily accessible system available to all citizens,” said Iordanis Iordanou, the president of OSEL, the company in charge of the new service which started operating just over a week ago.

“We envisaged a system that would give real options of safe and comfortable transport to the young, the working, the students, the housewives, the elderly and to people with special needs.”

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