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Cyprus Health

Nurses say pay docking for strike included those who stayed at work

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

Less than a month after calling off a highly disruptive strike, nurses union PASYNO are warning of possible new industrial action.
The March salaries of union members have been docked to reflect their working fewer hours during the two-week strike, which began on March 15 and ended on April 1.
Union members were insisting on a pay scale upgrade through degree recognition, but agreed to call off the strike following an agreement or understanding with the government.
PASYNO, whose members number some 1,900, do not contest the government’s right to dock their salaries for the two-week strike, but claim that the manner in which this has been done is arbitrary, unfair and illegal.
The union says that all members’ salaries have been docked, including those members who did not participate in the strike, such as those working in intensive care units, and those on maternity or sick leave at the time.
Moreover, the union contends that, in a departure from established norms, the deductions as calculated by the treasury were based not on the hours absent from work, but rather based on the total number of hours per week under the terms of their contract.
It is the first time that this method has been employed against any professional group, PASYNO said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Which raises questions as to whether it is a vindictive move by the government,” the union noted.
PASYNO also charged that the health ministry failed to pass on to the treasury accurate or detailed information as to the work-hours missed by each striking nurse, although this data had been recorded by hospital administrations and was readily available.
The government’s irregular practice is therefore a “blatant breach” of the principle of equal treatment and of guidelines governing administrative law, as well as a host of laws relating to the public service, the union said.
It called on the government to immediately remedy “the illegal cuts on persons who did not strike and to correct the distortions on the salaries of other persons, so as to reflect the actual hours of strike by each member.”
The union said it is consulting its legal advisors and is considering legal action against the health ministry.
“In addition, and in the event that no clear action is taken to correct these distortions, the union shall examine…the possibility of further action, not excluding dynamic action.”
‘Dynamic action’ is usually code for ‘strike’.

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