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Cyprus

Staff at asylum seeker reception centre call off strike

The Syrian students are currently living at Kofinou reception centre

A 24-hour strike announced by the Kofinou community welfare centre (SKE) union on Wednesday was called off only a few hours later after they received assurances over their payments by the interior ministry.
PASEY-PEO union staff who work at the asylum seeker reception centre in Kofinou called the strike at 7am on Tuesday without any prior warnings.
The reasons they cited include a government decision taken in June last year to privatise the reception centre.
Since then, they have not had any information regarding their future, they said.
“Staff work under tremendous pressure and stress because they don’t know if they’ll have a job tomorrow. Additionally, they’re boiling over because over the past few months, their salaries and benefits have not been paid on time.”
SKE staff payment depends on funds made available by the asylum service. Their union however claims the service never coughs up the money in time for their deadline at the end of the month and staff get paid much later.
Nevertheless, following a general meeting at 12:30pm, they decided to call off the strike at 3pm citing reassurances from the asylum service that their accrued salary for March will be paid immediately.
Additionally, they were promised a meeting with the interior ministry to discuss that shift allowance be paid every month as opposed to the end of the year and that their monthly salary is paid within the first three days of the following month.
“We will engage in dialogue with good will to resolve all staff requests, the main one being the interior ministry has seconds thoughts (over the reception’s privatisation) so employees jobs are ensured otherwise we will examine the possibility of further escalating measures,” the union said.

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