Cyprus is paralyzed for three hours, at noon on Thursday, since the general strike of the trade unions for ATA is planned tomorrow, with the result that from 12:00 to 03:00 there will be no production in several sectors of the economy. Among the sectors that will be affected are the entry and exit points of the country, as well as schools. However, the workers declare that this measure is not the culmination, since if their demands are not met, they will proceed with escalation.
At 12:00 p.m., public and private sector workers take to the streets to protest the end of talks to reinstate Automatic Rate Adjustment (ATA), with events taking place in various locations across the capital .
Specifically, for Nicosia, the protest event will take place at the Ministry of Finance, which will evolve towards the Ministry of Labour, for Limassol the gathering will take place at the Governor's Office, in Larnaca at the Provincial Administration, in Paralimni at the Provincial Office ;Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance and in Paphos in the District Administration. All protest events will start at 13:00 and are scheduled to end at 15:00.
The general strike was jointly decided by the twelve trade unions PEO, SEK, PASYDY, DEOK, POED, OELMEK, OLTEK, PASYKI, SAK, SYPYK, POASO and ESK. The trade unions, when they decided to take dynamic measures, had stated that the existing agreement, which has already expired, for the payment of ATA at only 50%, is not considered satisfactory, the trade unions state in their announcement and repeat their unanimous position on its complete rehabilitation and performance based on its philosophy, as provided for in the Transitional Agreement of July 2017.
Indeed, they had also expressed the common position that the full payment of ATA and its extension for all is required and all, while rejecting any attempt to abolish or alter its philosophy.
For their part, employers' organizations were against the taking of the specific measures and warned of serious economic consequences, since for three hours no production will be observed, in any sector. However, after the announcement of the protest, the employers' organizations appealed to the workers' unions to avoid the measures and to continue consultations and dialogue.
Recommendations to the public
Recommendations to the public
Due to the general strike, ports and airports are expected to be affected, with the authorities making recommendations to the public to avoid disruption and inconvenience. Specifically, the Ministry of Transport had stated in a relevant announcement that to avoid inconvenience, it calls on the public, before coming to the airports for a scheduled departure or arrival, as it communicates with the affected airlines and/or the airport management body, for information, for any rescheduling or changing flight times.
In addition, due to the strike, the following will apply with regard to Public Passenger Transportation by Regular Buses:
-The buses that transport students from Elementary/Middle Schools/High Schools/Technical Schools will be at the schools at 11:30 for the execution of the return routes. No routes will be operated between the hours of 12:00 – 15:00.
With the end of the strike (after 15:00), the predetermined routes related to the transportation of students such as Optional, Single All Day and KIE, they will be executed normally.
Regular Passenger Lines (Urban, Regional and Interurban) will not operate during the three-hour strike.
It is noted that essential services will follow the prescribed procedures to avoid inconvenience to the public. For the Security Forces, those who are off duty and not in uniform will participate.
Changes in exam time, in schools the teachers
In the meantime, the strike also affected the orderly implementation of the four-month exams, since four courses were scheduled for B' and C' Lyceum to be examined at 10:30, which meant that until 12:00 when the strike will start, no would have been completed. In order to avoid suffering for the students, the parents, as well as the teachers, had submitted a request to the Minister of Education, to make the necessary changes, so that the students would not be affected.
Thus, on Monday afternoon, the Directorate of Secondary Education had sent a letter to the Principals of the schools, informing them of the changes it had made, regarding the start time of some exams, even calling on the Principals to take all the necessary actions, so that to inform the students and teachers.
In the circular that had been sent to the Gymnasiums and High Schools, it was mentioned that the exam program for the High School Cycle, on Thursday January 26, 2023, is modified as follows:
A. The examination of the 2nd High School courses Computer Applications (B070) and Free Perspective Drawing (B022) will begin at 9:45.
B. The examination of the 3rd Lyceum courses English (Γ006), Networks (Γ060) and Visual applications (Γ044) will start at 07:45.
The start time of the examination of the remaining courses remains the same, according to with the program.
At the same time, in Primary Schools the situation is different. Specifically, due to the fact that the POED failed to turn to the General Assemblies and get approval for the next steps, it invited its members to remain in schools from 12:00 to 1:00, however to refrain from classes, as sign of protest. In a statement sent to its members, the teachers' organization called on them to explain to the students the reasons for the strike and then to protest with them.
At the same time, after the end of the school day and the departure of the students, those teachers who wished would be able to participate in the protest events, as long as they inform the POED leadership.