Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Unions call off threatened strike

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades

A threatened strike slated for next week by unions has been called off after a supplementary agreement was reached with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades on Friday.

Government and wider state sector unions had threatened to go on a three-hour strike on October 26 after the minister had initially refused to accept their demands for pay rises.

Following a meeting on Friday afternoon however, Georgiades said they had struck a deal that by the end of May 2018, a general increase to their wages – or a reduction to the cuts in place since 2012 – would be agreed on.

“Our position on this is well known, that such decisions should not be taken on the eve of elections. Additionally, any changes on the payroll in the government and wider state sector must be in line with the course and potential of the economy.”

The supplementary agreement applies to the framework agreement signed between the unions and ministry in January last year.

Peo union general secretary Pambis Kyritsis said this was a just and fair solution.

“While previously we discussed whether we would get something in the form of an increase, the dialogue will no longer concern if we will get it but will concern how much we will get and when, based on the current agreement which limits the negotiations to between zero and two per cent.”

As per Friday’s agreement, the zero per cent threshold is excluded meaning the increase in wages could be up to two per cent by gradually reversing pay cuts.

Georgiades called the solution, which applies to semi-government organisations, local authorities and hourly paid staff, “satisfactory and logical for all sides.”

Sek general secretary Andreas Matsas said this was a positive step for government workers that also sent clear messages to employees in the private sector.

Discussions are also set to begin in November over provident funds for civil servants hired after October 2011.

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