Cyprus Mail

Bank union threatens strike

By George Psyllides

BANK workers union ETYK threatened strike measures on Tuesday if the Cooperative Central Bank (CCB) insisted on “blackmailing” its members to accept pay cuts or face redundancy.

Following an general meeting, ETYK issued a statement threatening that a repeat of similar behaviour would prompt “dynamic measures.”

The union condemned the “board’s provocative and unprecedented” behaviour, which, by going behind the union’s back, attempted to force staff to sign individual contracts entailing pay cuts.

The CCB wants to slash its payroll by 15 per cent to comply with its restructuring obligations as per the terms of its €1.5bn state bailout.

Following a deal clinched recently, workers at cooperative credit institutions took a 3.0 per cent cut on salaries across the board.

Their unions also agreed to additional tiered salary cuts ranging from 8.0 per cent to 25 per cent.

But neither agreement applies to employees of the CCB who are all members of ETYK, with which the CCB board had been holding separate talks.

Some 300 CCB employees are members of ETYK, as opposed to the some 2,700 staff in the broader cooperative sector who belong to other unions, mainly PEO and SEK.

After negotiations between the CCB and ETYK broke down last week, the former threatened to begin layoffs unilaterally.

The CCB brass said it would ask each of the 300 employees to respond whether they individually accepted either the proposed pay cuts or a redundancy scheme sidelining ETYK.

Should the number of volunteers fall short of the targeted 100, the CCB threatened to proceed with forcing the redundancy scheme on enough employees to achieve its 15 per cent cost reduction target.

On Tuesday, ETYK claimed it had tabled proposals, which reached 15 per cent but they were ignored by the bank, which responded with new ultimatums.

ETYK said it had reported the CCB management to the labour ministry.

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