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12° Nicosia,
25 June, 2024
 
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In the face of unions and GESY, where are our politicians?

In the struggle for the future of our healthcare, Cyprus' political landscape shows its true colors

Eleni Xenou

Eleni Xenou

The conflict between OKYpY and unions is an undeniably political matter. It should be addressed as such if we wish to identify the political figures involved. Anyone possessing even a modicum of common sense (you don't need more) and having observed this "conflict" inevitably wonders to what extent politics in this place have withered away. This is the only explanation for the stance of both the government and the opposition on this pivotal issue, which puts at risk the most extensive reform ever undertaken and, simultaneously, undermines any hope of ridding ourselves of the pathogenic public service mentality that obstructs the modernization of the state.

Rather than rushing to protect the GESY and assert a political discourse and system in the face of the unions' demand to preserve public service structures, which, over the years, have only led to the Cypriot patient's degradation, our politicians have chosen a deafening silence.

Instead of standing tall in the face of these circumstances, the government could have intervened with political courage, placing each wrongdoer in their place and thus safeguarding citizens from the narrow-minded union ambitions that could lead to the collapse of the GESY. However, the government preferred to manage the issue primarily through communication and with kid gloves, leaving the society of citizens (for which it purportedly cares) exposed to the narrow union interests.

As for the opposition, the situation is even more disheartening, with DISY, the party that should have been the first to oppose the unions' demands and protect its own legacy, shamefully wavering. Its president has not articulated a single substantive position on the matter (at least not by the time this column was written), while Mr. Diplaris roams the radio waves, launching semi-coherent monologues that insult our intelligence. Listening to Mr. Diplaris on "Proini Epitheorisi," how he mumbled his words about "golden means" and "negotiations," one cannot help but conclude that DISY's downhill slide is irreversible. What AKEL does not seem to grasp is that the union's demands will devalue public hospitals, eventually causing them to close after burdening a slew of citizens. It would have been far more useful for the party, rather than whitewashing its building and changing its logos, to unequivocally demonstrate that it is now able to differentiate its stance from the unions' demands when they focus solely on increasing their personal gains without considering the harm this increase will inflict on the healthcare system. GESY and autonomy go hand in hand, and for public hospitals to deliver the expected results, we must rid ourselves of the public service mentality; otherwise, GESY will collapse, and with it, we will too.

unions do what they've learned to do best, namely, defend their members' interests, regardless of whether they run counter to the public good. This is precisely why strong political intervention is needed. So, where are our politicians? Who will protect GESY when parties and the government turn a deaf ear? Is there a politician left who cares foremost about being useful and then likable, or is this a futile question?

[This opinion piece was translated from its Greek original and may not relay the exact nuance of its original]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  GESY  |  health unions

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