Cyprus Mail

Minister attempts to avert further port strike

JUST THE threat of a strike can disturb Cyprus’ economy, Communication and Works Minister Marios Demetriades warned Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) employees unions on Monday as he attempted to avert the 48-hour strike at the Limassol port announced for August 27 and 28.
He met with union representatives who are threatening to strike in protest over what they say is the lack of progress in talks with the government over a voluntary retirement scheme.
The government’s position is that CPA employees have no reason to strike as they have been given the option of voluntary retirement or transferring to the civil service on the same salary and benefits once the ports are privatised. The government has also promised to try and have some of them rehired by whatever private company eventually manages the port.
At the meeting, Demetriades gave the union representatives in writing all that has been discussed and agreed by the two sides and asked them to submit their comments so that the final text is presented to the cabinet.
Regards the voluntary exit scheme, he said that the final proposal submitted to the unions is very generous. He said that it is intended mainly for employees over 50, but it is flexible enough to include other groups.
A plan on the organisational structure and the reposting of staff is currently being prepared by PWC and a subcommittee will be appointed to deal with these issues, he said.
The unions have arranged for a general meeting on Wednesday to confer with their members and will then inform the minister in writing of their proposals.
Following the meeting, Demetriades said that a private investor will take over the ports in mid-March.

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