The hotel industry is preparing to roll over in the near future, with the Pancyprian Hoteliers Association hoping that the summer season will begin in mid-March. The indications for a successful period seem to be very encouraging, both from the number of bookings and from the tourist partners, while the main “blood donors” will be for another year the tourists who come to our country to enjoy, mainly, the sun and sea. For another year, the biggest challenge facing hoteliers, they say, is understaffing and labor shortages. An issue that is evaluated as particularly crucial for the functionality of the hotels and for a potentially successful season. PASYXE's request is clear and according to them a one-way street. They are asking the government to give permission immediately so that people from third countries can be hired. For their part, the unions insist on the implementation of collective agreements, which are largely ignored by hoteliers, and which in their view will make the profession more attractive.
PASYXE: The margins for Cypriots, ancient rhetoric or salary justification
Efforts and opportunities to persuade Cypriots, Europeans or Community workers to work in the hotel industry have been exhausted, he told politis .com .cy the General Manager of PASYXE, Filokypros Rousounidis . For this reason, he considers that the only way out of the problem is the immediate granting of a license for the employment of staff from third countries. Over time, the Cypriot, claims Mr. Rousounidis, refuses to work as a laundry or gardener for example, at the same time that very few Cypriots are interested in working as waitresses. According to data and information he owns, the hotel industry is called to fill more than 7 thousand job vacancies, at the same time that in recent years around 6-7 thousand Europeans and Community members have left Cyprus, complicating the situation. Also, as he says, a small portion of Cypriots left the area for fear of a pandemic and uncertainty.
Asked about the issue of wages, and whether this is a factor that pushes Cypriots away from the industry, the General Manager of PASYXE said that he considers these to be an ancient rhetoric, which is used by the unions to justify the unjustified. In fact, Mr. Rousounidis argued that some are taking advantage of the small supply and huge demand that currently exists in the area, and secure deals with much more money than their minimum wage. He mentioned as an example that a maid with a minimum salary of 970 euros, could end up being paid 1400 euros.
Below you can see the minimum wages of employees in the hotel industry, as regulated by a decree that came into force on January 1, 2020.
The full text of the Decree can be found here .
In the previous period, a process of personal interviews took place, the results of which are considered as disappointing by PASYXE, since only 30% of those who were invited attended and 20-30% of them were deemed suitable. Around 40-50 people were hired from the interviews, which is obviously not enough to fill the thousands of vacancies that exist.
The issue of permission to hire workers from third countries, according to Mr. Rousounidis, is delayed for bureaucratic issues, while he also considers important the role of the opposite view of the unions, which argue that more efforts should be made to convince Cypriots , European or Community.
TEC & amp; PEO: They insist on the implementation of collective agreements and then & # 8230; we see
The unions appear to be in stark contrast to PASYXE's narrative that they have run out of space to persuade Cypriots, Europeans or Community members to work in industry. The Secretary General of the Hotel Employees Guild of PEO Neophytos Timinis and the Secretary General OUXEKA – SEK, Miltiadis Miltiadous, emphasize in politis.com.cy that most hoteliers in recent years violate the collective agreement, which regulates the employment status of the profession, thus leaving employees without benefits and rights. They note that a small portion of hoteliers who apply the provisions of the contract, operate normally with sufficient staff. This is because they offer the right wages on the basis of collective agreements, which are quite different from those regulated by the state as minimum wages, and employees enjoy the benefits they are entitled to.
The hotel industry today is not attractive, the two unions argue, and most hoteliers avoid referring to collective agreements. As long as this continues, they believe that the problem will be perpetuated. They also believe that at this time, the industry is at a crossroads as things are moving towards normalcy and they are worried that this return will be done in the worst way, creating even more conditions of insecurity, by introducing unskilled personnel into the workplace. .
The unions, however, dispute the number of 7 thousand positions that PASYXE says there is a need to fill. According to Miltiadis Miltiadous of the SEC, around 90% of hoteliers who applied for staff, asked for twice or even three times the number of people, with the tactic of “I ask for more to get what I want”.
Regarding the issue of exploiting the lack of staff in order to secure some much higher salaries than the minimum, something that Mr. Rousounidis raised, Neophytos Timinis on behalf of PEO answers that if the collective agreement were implemented, the salary that would receive a maid would be at 1189 euros and not at 1400-1500, as the General Manager of PASYXE said in his example. In fact, Mr. Timinis spoke about another type of exploitation by some hoteliers, where employees work 6 days a week, while the decree refers to a five-day work 38 hours a week.
In the place of Filokypros Rousounidis, that the Cypriot refuses to do the laundry or the gardener and very few Cypriots would like to work as waitresses, Timinis and Miltiados strongly disagreed. Neophytos Timinis of PEO, even cited as an example the cleaning services in the British bases, in which he considers the working conditions worse than the hotel industry, and which are currently staffed by Cypriots, mainly young people.
The fact that Europeans and Community members have left the industry for the last two years due to uncertainty is not disputed by the unions, but their assessment is that hoteliers should invite them to return on attractive terms. Always applying the collective agreements, which, as Miltiadis Miltiadous of the SEC stated, will push these people to leave their countries or other countries that went to work and return to Cyprus.
The representatives of the unions also wanted to raise the issue of the increases, which should be given from 2019 for 2021 and for 2022 by the hoteliers, as provided by the contracts they signed. What, in their view, would enhance the credibility of the profession and attract workers to the industry, never happened. “The hoteliers want both the dog full and the bread right,” said Miltiadis Miltiadous of SEK.
In order to be allowed to hire workers from third countries, some necessary steps must first be taken as follows: and benefits. This will make the industry more attractive.
If this is done and the problem persists, the unions are ready to face the problems that will arise, as responsible trade union movements.