Cyprus Mail

Ports back at work but overtime ban in force

By Angelos Anastasiou

CYPRUS Ports Authority (CPA) employees at the Limassol and Larnaca ports returned to their posts on Monday following a 24-hour strike last Friday in protest of the government’s privatisation bill, but insist on refusing to put in any overtime hours.

The privatisation bill directly affects the CPA – eyed for privatisation along with the power and telecoms company to raise much-needed income for the cash-strapped government – but finds employee unions strongly opposed.

In addition to standing against privatisation, employees are also refusing to stay at work outside normal working hours – i.e. after 3 pm – as a measure against reduced overtime compensation, a government decision which employee unions complain did not include them.

According to Limassol port manager Yiorgos Ppouros, two container ships and a third carrying cars were served on Monday morning, while cruiseships and foreign military vessels were being served as normal.

“Thus far everything is going smoothly, but issues may come up at night if serviced ships need to depart, because CPA employees continue to abstain from all overtime work,” he said.

The overtime dispute was to be discussed later on Monday in a meeting between the CPA president and union leadership to decide on future arrangements, as employee abstention is causing operational issues.

Seven ships en route to Limassol had to be diverted to other ports over the weekend, causing companies and traders financial losses and forcing a delay of one week in the delivery of imports.

At the Larnaca port, nine ships that had docked on Friday and over the weekend were served on Monday due to the same protest measures.

The Larnaca port manager said that the port’s fifty employees resumed their work duties on Monday, but that it’s “not clear” whether they would also be resuming overtime work as this would depend on daily workloads.

Secretary of SIDIKEK-PEO union Glafkos Konstantinou confirmed that the CPA employees would be returning to their posts but “no work will be carried out after 3 pm as employees still abstain from any overtime work.”

“The CPA is a profit-making organisation that has contributed, and continues to contribute, to Cyprus significantly, especially in light of increasing demand for technical support in energy-related services”, he said.

“We feel that with the services the CPA has to offer, it can contribute to economic growth and become more profitable itself.”

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