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Next Previous Drums of war and strikes since 1961 in banks HOME • INSIDER • CYPRUS • Drums of war and strikes since 1961 in banks
& nbsp & nbspΘεανώ Θειοπούλου & nbsp; & nbsp;
Controversies between banking administrations and ETYK are not a current phenomenon and are not due solely to the digital revolution, which is weakening jobs. They date back a long time.
The causes of controversy are almost repetitive. The benefits, increases and surcharges claimed by thousands of bank employees and the management of requests by banking administrations. The crises that the labor relations in the banking sector went through were many, in fact there was from time to time the immediate intervention of the Presidents of the Republic in order to end the strikes and to achieve a labor peace. However, there have been long periods of calm, as a result of resolving disputes in a spirit of cooperation between the two sides, ie the employer and trade union side.
KEST closed but did not change anything
Until March 2016, the Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks was operating and its members were almost all banks. Under the auspices of KEST, the employers' association, the collective agreements with ETYK were negotiated. The Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks counted 50 years of life and put a lock after a joint decision of four Cypriot banks. The decision was taken after a meeting held by Alpha Bank, CDB Bank, USB Bank and Piraeus Bank of Cyprus in 2015. This decision was assisted by the fact of the previous departure from the Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank, of the Co-operation, as well as of the JCC.
READ ALSO: & nbsp; Return to the dialogue for Greek – ETYK
The reason for the decision to terminate KEST was the decision – the choice of each institution to chart its own path in labor issues and collective agreements. The banks decided to operate each independently and autonomously to sign a collective agreement with ETYK and its employees, estimating that they could achieve better terms through autonomous negotiations. In the end, however, as the results so far show, the content of the contracts is almost the same, with minimal differences from bank to bank. Also lost was KEST, the association that had sole responsibility for labor, according to its statutes.
The Association of Commercial Banks has banks as its members, but it does not have the authority to deal with labor matters, based on its statutes, and for this reason it avoids issuing announcements when labor problems arise, such as during the crisis in Greece. Bank and which, fortunately, was referred to a dialogue within the framework of the Ministry of Labor, after the suspension of the strike measures by ETYK and the commitment of the bank for dialogue on all issues. & nbsp;
Relationships from forty waves
Going back in time, the differences between ETYK and the bank managements were sometimes serious and sometimes relatively manageable. In the last 20 years, there have been periods when the relations between the banking administrations and ETYK have reached their extremes. It is worth noting that in 2008, for the second time since 1960, the two sides, ETYK and the Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks, reached an agreement, without the need for the intervention of the mediation service of the Ministry of Labor. The first time was in August 2005, when the union received relatively low annual increases of 0.7%, in addition to the ATA and annual increases, amid the intense problems faced by banks.
The Irishman added water to his wine
Each bank had its own history with ETYK. ETYK's relations with the Bank of Cyprus, at the time when Andreas Iliadis was the managing director, went through various phases but in the end there was a compromise and the balances were maintained.
In the post-2013 era, ETYK's relations with the Irish banker John Hurricane, who had taken over as CEO, were not at their best. During his tenure, Mr. Hurikan had proposed to ETYK a new system of evaluation of employees, managers and employees, based on five pillars and a change in the way of determining the salary increases. The trade union side had then invoked the provisions of the collective agreement and the discussion on this system was never completed. Virtually none of Mr Hurricane's suggestions, which went on to disrupt banking institutions, were accepted. Announcements from both sides, with sharp peaks, were an almost daily occurrence. In the end, the tone dropped, Mr. Hurikan found them with ETYK and the collective agreements remained without the changes that were initially promoted by the bank official. The relations of the current CEO of Bank of Cyprus Panikos Nikolaou with ETYK are at a fairly good level, with both sides keeping a low profile.
Open accounts in Elliniki
The differences between the Hellenic Bank and ETYK are not something of a current one, they date back a long time and are transferred from one leadership to the next. The change in the shareholder structure of Elliniki after 2013, threatened to bring upheavals even in the labor market. In 2015, the labor crisis at Hellenic Bank escalated, with the taking of dynamic measures, as the union issued a circular calling on its members to Helliniki to go on strike for two hours.
Then there was a labor dispute in 2017, with the main issue being the creation of a red loan management company. In 2015, the bank's chief executive, Dutch banker Bert Pijls, tried to push for changes to the payroll model but failed.
The term of office of Ioannis Matsis, as the supreme director of Elliniki, was intensely conflicting with ETYK. Mr. Matsis's relations with the banking union were for a long time, as the former considered that the model of working relations operating in the bank could not comply with the requirements of the banking environment, especially after the events of 2013. The management estimated that the system of horizontal and automatic wage increases is anachronistic and increases disproportionately labor costs in relation to productivity.
Mr. Matsis's positions were the cause of dynamic mobilizations in two cases by the bank's staff, with the result that the relations between Elliniki and ETYK were seriously disrupted.
The issue of Helliniki's labor relations with the trade union side is still open. Recently, the current German CEO Oliver Gatzke stressed the need to abolish automatic horizontal increases, reduce the number of staff and provide a holistic solution to all outstanding issues, based on a new collective agreement. Although it was initially clear that the strikes would be the motive for the next period, the mediation of DISY president Averof Neophytou led the two sides to a decision to start a dialogue under the Deputy Minister of Labor, with the trade union side suspending announced on Tuesday that the bank's management would ensure an honest dialogue on all issues, without preconditions for surpluses without additional compensation.
Large strikes in the banking sector
“Φ” records in this text the biggest mobilizations that took place in the banking sector, according to the information provided by ETYK on its website.
& nbsp; – The beginning took place in 1961, when the first major strike of ETYK took place in the Ottoman Bank, which lasted 48 days, provoked strikes of support from all bank employees in Cyprus and ended with the intervention of the President of the Republic Archbishop Makarios. >
& nbsp; – The second major strike of ETYK takes place in 1972, when for the first time requests were discussed with the Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks (KEST). The deadlock of the negotiations led to a strike, which lasted 42 days and again led to the intervention of the President of the Republic and the conclusion of a full agreement with KEST. This agreement is still called “the basic agreement of 1972”, as it was the basis on which all subsequent collective agreements have been based.
& nbsp; – Shortly after the invasion, the economy begins to recover and ETYK throws its weight on improving working conditions and the benefits of bank employees. In 1977 the first post-war contract is signed, which provides for salary increases of 14%. In the next collective agreement between ETYK and KEST (Cyprus Employers' Association of Banks), in 1979, the first step was taken for the equal pay of men and women, with the adoption of common pay scales.
& nbsp; – 1987 is marked by new big conflict between ETYK and banks, on the occasion of the renewal of the collective agreement. The negotiation leads to a new impasse and a new wave of strikes and counter-strikes shakes Cyprus for months. The leadership of ETYK remains stable in its positions and the government, for the first time in the history of the Republic of Cyprus, wanting to reduce the competitive mood of the bank employees, declares mobilization of the striking employees/members of ETYK. New strikes and a protest march to the Presidential Palace follow. With his personal intervention, the then President of the Republic Spyros Kyprianou submits a proposal for the resolution of the dispute, which is accepted.