THE boss of civil servants’ union PASYDY said on Tuesday his members would give the government a chance to discuss an alternative solution to a finance ministry proposal to decrease extra pay for working night shifts, weekends and national holidays.
Glafcos Hadjipetrou said PASYDY would meet the finance ministry to discuss overtime payment and shift allowances for its members. He did not specify when.
The finance ministry proposed this week to reduce by 50 per cent civil servants’ extra pay for working night shifts, weekends and national holidays, rejecting an earlier option of abolishing it altogether. The move – which aims to keep the 2014 budget in line – would need to be approved by parliament to go into effect in January 2014.
Briefing the press after a meeting with stakeholders, Hadjipetrou said the goal was to find a bearable solution: “not fair, because there is no fair solution, but [one] workers can take,” he said.
He said that any action the unions take will be “collective”.
“We are not a disorderly army,” he said.
“There is a lot of bitterness, there is a lot of pressure, but I think up until now we have not been undisciplined or disorderly.”
The aim was to reach consensus with the government and achieve a “significant improvement in the proposal,” he said.
Accusing the government of taking unilateral measures without consulting them over the past three years, Hadjipetrou – who has been opposed to austerity measures – said this time there would be “time for discussion”.
He said civil servants have had to accept wage cuts over the years and said that it was not fair that bank executives would get millions of euros in bonuses while a shift worker was being asked to contribute part of his wage.
The nurses union previously decided by ans overwhelming majority to possibly go on strike should the measure pass. The union’s head, Prodromos Argyrides, said the finance ministry was looking to bring down the extra pay to 20 per cent over the standard rate. Nurses’ shift allowance now lies at 24 per cent over the normal hourly rate, following a reduction at the beginning of the year.
As part of its obligations with its lenders and in order to rationalise state expenses, Cyprus authorities have been trying to increase the flexibility of civil servants and reduce overtime pay.