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Stakeholders to discuss employment of foreign workers

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Stakeholders to discuss employment of foreign workers

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    The Ministry of Labor is convening the inaugural meeting of the advisory tripartite committee today, marking a significant step in addressing foreign worker participation in the domestic labor market.

    Established under a three-point agreement reached last April, the committee will be chaired by Labor Minister Yiannis Panayiotou.

    The committee’s agenda likely includes reviewing data on work visa applications from non-Cypriot nationals under the existing foreign worker strategy.

    Discussions are also expected to delve into outstanding aspects of the April agreement to initiate its implementation.

    Trade unions seek clarification

    As reported by Phileleftheros, trade unions are expected to raise concerns regarding the recent intergovernmental agreement with Egypt on employing Egyptian workers.

    The unions reportedly assert a lack of consultation with social partners on the agreement, which received endorsements from employer organizations OEB and KEBE.

    Additionally, trade unions may express dissatisfaction with the delayed meeting and the absence of a pre- defined agenda, given prior commitments to convene after Easter.

    They have also advocated for revising the current foreign worker licensing strategy, implemented by the previous administration, for over a year.

    Their primary objection lies with the disbanding of advisory technical committees that reviewed foreign work permit applications, citing a lack of transparency.

    Focus on collaboration and worker welfare

    The April agreement and subsequent memorandum of understanding (MoU) were prompted by trade union concerns and warnings, including potential warnings from SEK, PEO, and DEOK.

    The MoU, a key point of discussion today, outlines several critical provisions:

    • Upgrade of collaboration between social partners through the establishment of a central-level advisory tripartite committee to guide labor market needs. This committee will consider work permit applications, domestic workforce capacity, adherence to collective bargaining agreements, and address complaints within its purview.
    • Implementing appropriate standards and provisions for improving foreign personnel’s living conditions. This includes defining acceptable housing standards and amenities, designating monitoring entities, outlining penalties for non-compliance, and setting guidelines for wage deductions related to housing.
    • Evaluating and updating the existing strategy for the employment of third-country nationals to create a mutually agreed upon framework. This revision will be based on insights from the current strategy's implementation and aim for timely preparation for the next peak season. In the absence of consensus, the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance will submit a proposal.
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