The bank deal imposed to keep Southern Cyprus in the eurozone will bring job losses, privatisation and financial ruin to ordinary people.
There are people out on the streets at least twice a day. The students marched on the presidential palace on Tuesday of this week. And, on Wednesday, there will be a huge rally against privatisation.
The port authority, telephone company and electricity company are all to be sold off as part of the deal.
They bring in more than £200 million to the state every year. To sell them now will be to sell them for nothing.
A lot of people will lose their jobs and a lot of people will pay higher bills. It will be just like everywhere else that’s seen privatisation.
The banks are closed and are set to stay closed until Thursday of this week.
Money will be lifted straight out of every account with more than £85,000 in it.
That sounds like a lot, but many ordinary people will be affected.
People who spent 40 years working abroad will lose their savings. Small businesses will collapse, meaning people will lose their jobs.
I know someone who took out a loan of £250,000 to get his cancer treated in the US.
He can’t get to that money now, and a big part of it will be taken away from him.
He’ll probably lose his house too. These are just some of the cases that are emerging.
Importantly, these are the banks where unions keep their pension funds. There’s almost £6 billion in union funds in the Laiki bank that is being wound up. They will all be hit.
We marched with the bank workers last week. It was the biggest demonstration I’ve seen in 20 years. The workers keep their pensions in these banks, so they risk losing their pensions and their jobs.
Then there’s the jobs at all the businesses that work with the banks, and with their
clients who will now move abroad—the law firms, the accountancy firms and so on.
The bank workers’ union has said if their jobs and pensions aren’t guaranteed they’ll go straight out again and strike as soon the banks reopen.
There’s a feeling that the people who are responsible, mainly the bankers, should be made to pay.
The president, under pressure, has promised an investigation to identify these bankers. We’ll see if he delivers.
There is an alternative.
Cyprus should leave the euro. We should tax the rich and the church, and stop paying the debt.
The interest on the debt alone costs more than £1 billion a year. If we just stopped that, there would be no need for any of this.
We should nationalise the banks without compensation, and put them under workers’ control. A lot of people are starting to feel that these slogans are on the agenda now.