By Andria Kades
PORTERS in Limassol and Larnaca will receive almost €30m in compensation once the government moves forward for port privatisation, while discussions with employees continue.
Communications minister Marios Demetriades said: “we are in advanced stages of negations. I believe we will soon reach a conclusion and in this way the process (of privatisation) will move forward smoothly,” he said after attending a House Communications and Works committee meeting.
Porters have licences for years, granted by the government, which they will have to give up once the port commercialisation goes ahead that will “have important benefits for our economy, employees and most importantly all citizens of this country,” Demetriades added.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Larnaca porters would receive €2.4m while those in Limassol would get €27m. Once a final decision is reached, the minister stressed it will become publicly available for matters of transparency.
He clarified that even though the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) would be responsible for the works, the investor would pay for them while the government would pay the porters.
There are 28 licences for Limassol porters, who have 60 employees and 23 licences in Larnaca. If a solution is not found, an independent mediator will step in to solve the problem, Demetriades said.
In regards to workers at the CPA, a mixed advisory committee has been set up to ensure all their rights are safeguarded.
House Communications committee leader Antonis Antoniou said discussions over the CPA legislation were completed and a draft would be submitted to the committee next week and be sent to plenum 14 days later.
“Any rules should first ensure the interests of Cyprus, secondly guarantee workers’ rights and not be unjust towards workers at the ports authority, and any privatisations or outsourcing to big traders should have high value with several economic benefits to the country,” Antoniou said.