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Northern Cyprus union fights privatization of electric power

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2 October, 2020IndustriALL  affiliate the Cyprus Turkish Electricity Authority Employees Union (EL-SEN) is taking action against the privatization of the Turkish electricity authority KIB-TEK. The public electricity provider has incurred massive debts, and the union is calling on the government to step in to avoid a transfer of power from pubic to private hands.

The government is arguing that KIB-TEK’s unpaid debts are best resolved by privatizing the company, which employs 640 people.

El-SEN is campaigning for KIB-TEK to remain publicly-owned under the slogan of “No to privatization, but self-governing of KIB-TEK”, and has launched a strike.

EL-SEN says that there are ways for the government to lead the KIB-TEK out of debt and resist the essential services company falling into private hands.

“If workers pay their electricity bills, then the government should also be able to pay theirs. We will fight privatization of KIB-TEK,”

says EL-SEN president Kubilay Özkıraç.

The Turkish Cypriot government is trying to create a situation whereby KIB-TEK may easily be privatized due to the unpaid debts, particularly by government institutions and hotels.

Some time ago, EL-SEN signed a protocol with the government to invest for an additional 60 MW capacity, which could impact the situation positively. 

As part of the government's tactics, police forces went to Teknecik power plant and two EL-SEN members were interrogated.


IndustriALL Global Union fully supports the campaign and related actions, including the strike, and calls on the government address EL-SEN’s legitimate demands. 

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:

“We call on the government to refrain from privatizing KIB-TEK and instead allocate public funds to the electricity sector in Northern Cyprus. Today, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the value of quality public services are more important than ever.”