By George Psyllides
BANK employees approved by majority vote yesterday a labour ministry mediation on collective agreements which includes extending the retirement age to 65.
The workers’ district assemblies approved the deal with 85 per cent of the vote.
The deal includes tiered pay and benefit cuts of up to 14 per cent, the extension of employees’ retirement age from 60 to 65 years, and a freeze of incremental salary rises and the cost of living allowance (CoLA) for three more years.
An employee solidarity fund has also been created and will run for three years.
The bank employees’ union ETYK said observation of the deal will ensure labour peace so that managements and workers “can focus on the joint effort of tackling the challenges, thus contributing to the faster recovery of banks and the economy of our country.”
Negotiations broke down in January when both sides refused to concede any further ground, with the banks’ association asking for substantial cuts on salaries and benefits, citing the need to reduce operating costs in light of the crippling blow suffered by the local banking system in the past year.
ETYK countered with a proposed extension of the retirement age to 65 and demanded that employers contribute to the solidarity fund.
The bank association decided to declare the negotiations deadlocked and referred the dispute to the labour ministry’s mediation service to resolve.
The new collective agreement will be in force retroactively from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016.