PEO on the IMF study and the government‘s stand

From the moment the government chose to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to commission the study on the so-called “rationalization” of the state wage bill, for PEO it was to be expected that the proposals the IMF would submit would be in the familiar direction of abolishing benefits such as the Automatic Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and deregulating labour relations in general.

The government that commissioned the study should take a position immediately. When it talks about “modernising the state payroll”, does this mean cuts? Is this how the narrowing of the wage gap between the public and private sectors in an economy which, as it boasts, has the highest growth rate in Europe, is to be achieved? Is it by abolishing the COLA and the public sector workers’ increments?

If narrowing the gap in pay between the public and private sectors is the government’s real and sincere goal there is a way to achieve it, by adopting the recommendations that PEO has submitted to the President of the Republic himself for the introduction of institutional measures that would extend collective labour agreements and make the application of the basic terms of contracts including the provision of the COLA compulsory. By amending the Minimum Wage Decree so that the thousands of low-paid workers who receive the Minimum Wage are paid the COLA, the 13th month salary and other basic benefits. By increasing wages especially for low paid workers. The recipes of the IMF are well known to the workers of Cyprus, it is these recipes that led to the devaluation of labour and the channeling of 11 billion euros from labour income to profits, to the widening of economic and social inequalities. The question remains and the government must give an answer to the following question: Are these the policies that the government will also pursue?

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