A draft bill to overhaul the operational and institutional structure of state-owned incumbent telco Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) has been discussed for the first time by the parliamentary Communications Committee. The bill, which was conceived in 2002, is designed to give Cyta ‘more flexibility’ to become active in more areas of the European Union free market, according to the Finance Ministry, which under the proposed act would control Cyta’s budget in conjunction with the Cabinet. Cyta would also change its name to Cyprus Autonomous Telecommunications.
The draft legislation reportedly received negative initial reactions from Cyta’s board of directors and trade unions, as well as members of the parliamentary committee. Employees expressed worries that the new legal framework would weaken their rights, while the board argued that the bill would strip them of their power in favour of the Finance Ministry, which could implicate Cyta in state bureaucracy, stripping it of its autonomy and reducing flexibility – the opposite of the draft’s stated aims. Antonis Neophytou, general secretary of the SIDIKEK-PEO union, said, ‘We want the new law to empower Cyta and equip it to compete with the private sector, while securing the workers’ rights and collective agreements.’