Cyprus Mail

Labour Minister was instrumental in Hellenic, union deal

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou was instrumental in brokering an agreement between bank employees’ union Etyk and Hellenic Bank over secondments to the lender’s asset-management arm, APS, over which the two sides had squabbled for months, it was announced on Thursday.

The deal was clinched in a marathon meeting chaired by the minister on Wednesday afternoon, an Etyk circular to its members said.

According to the deal struck, the jobs and benefits of Hellenic employees transferred to APS are “fully safeguarded”, with clear provisions ensuring “existing and future collective agreements, the right to be transferred back to the bank, and many other clauses protecting colleagues fully”.

In addition to the APS issue, Emilianidou was also able to resolve the issue of pay hikes for 2017, which the banks were obliged to pay but haven’t, and a new two-year collective agreement.

“After a marathon session between delegations from our organization, headed by honourary chairman Loizos Hadjicostis, and [Hellenic] bank, headed by its chief executive Ioannis Matsis, under Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, the minister submitted individual mediating proposals to settle the differences, which were accepted by both sides,” the circular said.

Before other issues were discussed, Etyk said, it raised the issue of annual pay increments, which had been referred to the ministry as a labour dispute.

“In her ruling, the minister unequivocally determined that the pay increments are an obligation of the banks based on existing agreements and must be paid retroactively from January 1st, 2017,” it said.

“Then, following a proposal by the labour minister, the two parties agreed to sign a renewal of the collective agreement for the years 2017 and 2018, modelled on the deal between Etyk and Alpha Bank.”

This successful outcome, Etyk said, which maintains labour peace, was largely down to Emilianidou and her associates, whom “we wish to publicly thank for their decisive contribution”.

“We are also obliged to note the responsible stance of [Hellenic] Bank, particularly Ioannis Matsis, throughout the negotiations, suggesting that we can, together, turn a page in the bank’s labour relations in order to achieve our common goals,” it said.

The circular ended by inviting all Etyk members employed by Hellenic to district assemblies on Tuesday afternoon, where they will be asked to vote on both the collective agreement and the APS secondment deal.

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