Cyprus Mail

Relations worsen between union and co-ops

Cooperative Central Bank CCB

By Angelos Anastasiou

The standoff between bank employees’ union ETYK and the Co-operative Central Bank (CCB) seems to have taken a turn for the worse, following a 48-hour strike by the union mid-December.

According to a memo to bank employees on Monday, ETYK claims the CCB’s management has exhibited “vindictive behaviour”, as a meeting between the two sides last week, in the presence of Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou as mediator, failed to yield results.

“In the joint session held before Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, the minister’s remarks vindicated our organisation, and what remained was the positive attitude of the employer’s side,” ETYK said.

“Unfortunately, once more, the bank’s management exhibited the same sterile denial to implement what has been agreed, when savings from implementation of the deal would run in the millions.”

Last month, ETYK had called a two-day strike at the CCB over the management’s decision to renege on a tentative deal the two sides had reached for renewal of the collective employment agreements.

In its Monday memo, the union claimed the bank deliberately delayed informing Emilianidou of its rejection of the mediating proposal until New Year’s Eve, thus forcing out three CCB staff that would have otherwise stayed on, as the new agreements would have included an extension of the retirement age to 65.

“In insensitive and provocative manner, the bank’s management opted to deliberately, toying with the anguish of the three affected employees, blackmail them, as well as our Organisation, by issuing its negative response to the labour minister a day prior to the end of the year,” ETYK said.

“And this only days after the same management agreed with individual co-operatives, among other things, to extend (and rightly so) the retirement age to 65.”

How is it then possible, the union asked, that everyone invokes the taxpayer’s interests only when it comes to ETYK, and not when the CCB’s management recently decided to incur additional cost to the bank and the taxpayer?

“Focused on healthy unionisation principles and values, ETYK will tolerate blackmail from no one,” the union warned.

“More than that, it will not acquiesce on matters of principle relating to the industrial relations code. With the same seriousness and responsibility, and aiming at protecting the interests of all our colleagues, our Organisation will continue to handle the pending issues.”

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