Almost 200 strikes in both the private and public sectors have taken place over the past five years, recent research by the Department of Labour Relations (DLR) has shown.
DLR’s results showed that 191 strikes took place during 2012-2016, almost three times the 68 strikes which took place during 2007-2011.
Most of the strikes, 56, occurred in 2012 and affected 37,542 employees. The fewest strikes, 14, took place last year and involved 5,520 employees.
The figures reflect the timeline of the financial crisis in Cyprus which caused huge financial insecurity and led to a drastic decrease in the volume of business of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Cyprus households, businesses and the state were all living on credit which they were unable to pay back.
According to a European Commission Annual Report on European SMEs, during the 2012-2013 recession in Cyprus, negative growth rates were recorded mainly in the construction, manufacturing, banking, transport, trade and other service sectors.
Deputy secretary general of PEO trade union, Sotiroula Charalambous, told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday that there were two main reasons for the increase in strikes. Firstly, many employers breached collective bargaining agreements, which forced workers towards industrial action.
“Secondly, the strikes have increased due to the worker unions’ struggles against the privatisation of public services,” Charalambous added.
However, the fact that 2016 was the year with the fewest number of strikes could be seen as a further indication that the financial sector has started to recover.