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Friday, February 23, 2024

Labor peace is in the air on the eve of elections – The three hot strike fronts

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Uncertainty and economic insecurity are caused by the many labor fronts that remain open on the eve of the elections. On the one hand the ATA issue, on the other the EAC trade unions and in the background the problems in the public hospitals and the requests of the nurses, create an explosive mixture that the Government is called upon to manage, a few weeks before its ministers and himself President of the Republic, hand over their portfolios to the next generation.  

Starting from the most burning issue, that of ATA, in the last few hours a blame game has been played between unions and employers' organizations, on the one hand for who is responsible for the wreck and on the other for who is the victim of the whole affair. On the one hand, the employers' organizations, which went to the dialogue table with the position of complete abolition and moved to comply with the existing model, and on the other hand, the trade unions that demanded 100% coverage of workers by ATA and accepted the gradual implementation, seem to have conclude that the hot potato of the labor issue will remain a dowry for the next Government.

Strike on the eve of elections

Besides, the competent minister, who had the role of mediator and was the one who declared the impasse, since the positions that were submitted to the dialogue table could not be bridged, avoided blaming one or the other side, however calling on both sides to rise to the occasion.

The fact is that labor peace in Cyprus, despite the fact that from January 1, it became possible to implement a minimum wage, is threatened since on January 26, a general strike has been planned that will affect all sectors of the economy and essentially paralyze everything. with the employers talking about huge financial losses and warning that they will cut the three hours of the strike from the workers' earnings and the workers indicating that they are considering other more dynamic measures.

The question is whether the President of the Republic, who has made it clear in the past that the Government's position is not in favor of abolishing the ATA, will intervene in order to avoid the worst, or whether he will personally make a last-ditch effort to bridge disputes between employers and employees.

Risk of “electric shock”

At the same time, under the threat of strike measures that will inevitably affect the electricity supply of Cyprus, the meeting of three government ministers with the trade unions of the Cyprus Electricity Authority is being held tomorrow. It is recalled that the trade unions of the EAC had announced strike measures which were suspended in view of tomorrow's meeting, which will take place at the Ministry of Finance, in the presence of Konstantinos Petridis, the Minister of Energy, Natasas Pileidou and the Minister of Labour, Kyriakos Kousios who in this case too acts as a mediator, between the two sides.

However, in recent days, the Minister of Energy appears optimistic that the golden ratio will be found and that the guilds will be satisfied with what they hear. Answering questions in the context of a press conference for the presentation of the activities of her Ministry, Mrs. Pileidou said that the meeting will deal with a series of issues, which she divided into labor and policy issues. Regarding labor issues, Mrs. Pileidou said that an analysis of the issues will be made and the involvement of the Ministry of Labor is expected, so that it can give an opinion regarding these issues.

“And where they arise, a study and proper assessment of the issues should be carried out, so that where we can satisfy them so that the Authority can proceed to modernize, to be staffed with the people it needs and to cope with its obligations, which as we mentioned, they are sufficient in relation to the development of the network and the opening of the competitive market”, he said.

It is recalled that the burning issues that concern the EAC trade unions, the deficiencies in the staffing of the EAC, the involvement of the Authority in the production of Renewable Energy Sources and the renewal of polluting units at the Dekelia Power Station.

Hospitals in intensive care

The Ministry of Health is also under the threat of new strike actions by the trade unions and trade unions that support workers in public hospitals, after last Tuesday's work stoppage, with the workers' representatives warning that if the demands are not met them and a new deadlock is recorded in the discussions of the following days, the adoption of further dynamic measures will be inevitable.

What the employees are essentially complaining about is that the commitments of the Health Insurance Organization for   the conclusion of a collective agreement for the staff, who were hired with personal contracts, were not respected.

The conclusion of a collective agreement concerns about a thousand employees who were hired after 2019, who complain of mockery by OKYpY, since the organization's commitment to enter into collective agreements is recorded.

It should be recalled that 24 hours before the work stoppage on Tuesday, a meeting was held between the workers' unions and of OKYpY,  in the presence of the Minister of Health, Michalis Hatzipantela, without any substantial result, which led to the stop on Tuesday. Now the focus is on next Monday, where the new appointment between the sides was made, with the unions sending a message to all involved, that if once again their demands are not heeded, then they will take more dynamic reaction measures, until gain their achievements.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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