By Andria Kades
THE House Communications and Works committee decided on Friday to release €27.6m for port workers compensations, while keeping a further €3.5m in reserves, according to chairman Antonis Antoniou.
The total of €31.1m includes €3m for the operational expenses of the Association of Licensed porters, €20m for compensation of Limassol port workers, €1m to compensate employees of Limassol licenced port workers, €3.6m in compensation for licensed port workers in Larnaca. Some €3.5m in compensation will also be paid out to licensed port workers in Limassol that will be allocated from the port’s profits.
According to Antoniou, the committee will reconvene when the ministry of transport decides to release the remaining amount of €3.5m which will be delayed as it will depend on the profitability of the ports.
It is expected to be released towards the end of the year.
Transport minister Marios Demetriades said the reason the total amount needed to be released was because with this agreement, the government was going to develop the ports and eradicate monopolies that existed for 60 years meaning everyone would benefit, including the state and society.
He said that port workers that will immediately receive the €20m, will be contracted to continue to work on behalf of the Port Authority, while all profits will be retained by the authority.
Trying to give MPs a picture of how much income the investor and the state will have from these services, the minister said profits from operations were €8.7m in 2014.
Regarding the €1m in compensation to 62 Limassol employees, Demetriades said they “needed to be covered” and unions will give them a plan on how this compensation will be shared out. He also confirmed that during discussions he had with several interested investors he told them that in the case where they were the ones to win tender, he would give them a list of employees they could rehire.
As regards Larnaca, he outlined that despite the fact that there was no agreement with Zenon consortium, they have arranged that the port will continue to be serviced for the next two and a half years giving adequate time to find a new investor.