Cyprus Mail

New movement aims to protect Sunday shop workers

AIMING to represent some 1,500 people hired as part of a government scheme extending shop opening hours a new movement has been created.

“We will defend in all legal ways our right to work,” an announcement from the newly-formed Movement for New Hires in Commerce (KNLE) group said. The new group has started lobbying in earnest, calling on the government to make the new scheme permanent.

“We aspire to representing over 1,500 employees from all sectors of retail who have been hired as part of the decisions to extend opening hours,” the announcement said.

The labour minister issued a decree extending opening hours outside tourist areas, allowing shops to also open on Sundays as long as half of those needed to keep the shop open were hired from the registered unemployed.

The ongoing decree was first enforced in July, and the government committed to subsidising salaries of new hires by 65 per cent for eight months.

“Our aim is to eradicate our job insecurity stemming from the temporary nature of the current opening hours,” the group said. The decree lapses end of the month, though shops may remain open longer between December 1 and December 31, during the Christmas holiday period.

The new group also threatened “interventions” in case the decree lapsed and the new hires lost their jobs. They said they had voted for a seven-member committee and would be represented by Nicoletta Ppoulli.

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