Cyprus unions make themselves heard

AROUND 1,500 trade union members yesterday took to the streets of Nicosia yesterday to protest against the impact of the economic crisis on the average worker.

The march included workers belonging to SEK, PASYDY, DEOK, ETYK, OELMEK, OLTEK , SAK, SYKSand POED.

The unions’ march was part of an EU-wide protest against “unpopular policies” and austerity measures they say are leading to more unemployment.

“Yes to jobs, no to unemployment,” read one of the placards carried by one of the Cypriot demonstrators yesterday.

The goal of the demonstration and march towards the Finance Ministry and eventually the House of Representatives, was to “make known that the wage earner would no longer carry the burden of the economic crisis”

The demonstrators aimed to get the message across by presenting to parliament a resolution stating the unions’ opposition to austerity measures and unemployment.

In an effort to get the attention of the establishment, the march began from the SEK building in Strovolos, down to the Finance Ministry, where they took part in chanting spirit-rallying slogans and listened to a speech given by the general secretary of PASYDY, Glafcos Hadjipetrou.

Hadjipetrou, long-resistant to seeing the public sector contribute to austerity measures through wages or benefit cuts for civil servants, repeated his mantra that the state could solve the current financial problems by stepping up measures to curb tax evasion.

The march attracted workers from a plethora of jobs. Avgusta Kalli and Spyros Yiannakis, both from the technical department of the Electricity Authority felt that it was unfair that “cuts had to be made by the common working man.”

Asked what they hoped the end result of the resolution and demonstration would be, Georgia Christou, a worker at a warehouse in Vrisoulles said: “to win their rights.”

“Our voice is being heard everywhere, in Brussels, London, Athens,” said Hadjipetrou.

After an interlude at the Finance Ministry the protesters marched on to parliament where they handed in their resolution to House President Marios Garoyian.