Cyprus Mail

Bank workers being exploited, union says

Bank employees want their provident funds fully reinstated

By George Psyllides

BANK workers union ETYK has called on its members at Hellenic Bank to abstain from overtime and also vowed to protect the rights of colleagues in the Bank of Cyprus, which were seen as being threatened by management.

In the first instance, the union said the majority of staff were forced, through intimidation, to work beyond normal hours on a daily basis “without recompense, something which is a blatant violation of current agreements.”

“Unfortunately the Hellenic Bank’s intention for a head-on collision with the ultimate aim of scrapping agreements, the industrial relations code, and full deregulation of labour relations is now very clear,” the union said.

ETYK said the lender cultivated a culture that a good employee is the one who worked non-stop with no overtime pay.

The union also took exception to the bank’s decision to hire four staff members “without asking for our organisation’s prior approval as provided by current agreements.”

It had acted in a similar way when hiring new directors, ETYK said.

As a first measure, the union asked its members to abstain from any overtime work from Thursday, strictly adhering to the working hours – 7.30am to 2.30pm.

It also called general meetings for May 27 to discuss the matter.

But trouble was also brewing at Bank of Cyprus, where management is seeking to renegotiate collective agreements.

ETYK said workers had voluntarily waived their annual pay-scale raises, and cost of living allowance, while €325 million from their provident funds was used to recapitalise the lender.

The union said again in 2013, they accepted pay cuts that reached up to 30 per cent and cuts in allowances of 50 per cent.

The union said it would once more try to achieve adoption of the modern parameters that would boost transparency, good governance, and meritocracy and could not accept obsolete perceptions aiming at scrapping basic employment terms and deregulating labour relations.

“Respecting the institutions and procedures provided for by the industrial relations code is a matter of principle for our organisation, as is the fact that the final say on all these matters belongs to you, colleagues.”

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