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Cyprus

Chamber calls for bill to end strikes in essential services

Nurses protesting in front of parliament last month (Christos Theodorides)

THE head of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), Phidias Pilides, called on Friday for the need for legislation regulating strikes in essential services.

As of Monday, parallel to the indefinite strike of the PASYNO nurses union, port pilots will also go on an indefinite strike as a reaction to a “humiliating” bid selected for marine services as part of the Limassol port privatisation process.

Pilides said that it is “unacceptable” that small groups of public sector employees, whose jobs are secure, “to resort so easily to strike measures causing unnecessary discomfort to the public and huge damage to the economy, without showing any sensitivity to the problems they cause”. He added that this also harms the country’s credibility abroad.

“The moment has finally come, for the voting of legislation to regulate strikes in essential services, to ensure the minimum protection of the state and of the public,” Pilides said.

He added that the “stubbornness and obsessions” of a small group of employees cannot constantly “put a brake” in any efforts to modernise state structures, “by putting forth demands, whose cost exceeds their employer’s capacity, in this case the state, and demanding for the rest of the taxpayers to foot the bill”.

Commenting on the statements of the head of PASYNΟ Panayiotis Georgiou that strikers cannot be prosecuted, the general secretary of KEVE, Marios Tsiakkis, said that this proves that some groups believe they can blackmail the whole country to deal with their issues.

“There are people whose health is at risk and we are discussing whether we should sort this issue legally,” Tsiakkis said.

He said that this issue should not rest on the goodwill of anyone and that it should be regulated though legislation, and called on the government and the political parties to “finally make decisions”.

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