By Andria Kades
TRADE unions PEO and SEK have reached an agreement with the government, which provides for worker pay rises in the broad public sector based on GDP growth.
This involves staff at semi-state organisations such as CyTA, EAC and CyBC, local authorities, and hourly paid state workers, according to PEO’s Antonis Neophytou.
The four-year agreement, announced on Thursday and which is expected to be ratified in September, stipulates that there will not be any salary or pension increases for 2015 and 2016.
Starting from 2017, however, and until the agreement’s expiration in 2018, employees will receive a pay rise “that does not exceed the rise in GDP.”
This means that an increase in GDP would be reflected with a rise in salaries. During periods of economic contraction, however, salaries will not be reduced.
“The agreement not only respects the institutionalised social dialogue but strengthens it through the creation of a mechanism that will be set up with the participation of the government and trade unions,” Undersecretary to the president Constantinos Petrides said.
“It will be a mechanism in which there will be rational discussions and consultations on the real situations and developments in the economy that affect the income of the private and the broader public sector.”
Special contribution payments, in place since 2012 to strengthen public finances, will end by December 31, 2016 a move that “will strengthen the purchasing power of all people”, according to Petrides.
The deal is “based on the philosophy that employees in the broader public sector would be able to… claim their share from the country’s growth, while during a period of crisis, paying state employees would not burden taxpayers.”
As such, other government expenditures for development and social welfare would not be affected in times of
recession to pay for salaries.
The aim, Petrides said, was for the country to return to conditions that allowed for an increase in income for everyone – both in the private and public sectors – as soon as possible.
The agreement does not include the PASYDY union as it deals with civil servants and not semi-state organisation employees.