The scheduled strike organised by Electricity Authority (EAC) unions was averted on Wednesday after an appeal by the utility’s chairman, Andreas Marangos.
The strike was set to take place on Thursday between 7am and 9am, followed by a 24-hour action a week later if their demands were not met. Electricity production was not expected to be affected during the two hours, though customer service outlets would remain shut.
In an announcement on Wednesday, unions said they agreed to cancel the strike in light of a meeting set to take place between themselves and President Nicos Anastasiades in the next few days.
Marangos said their decision was the responsible one to take in a bid to find a satisfactory solution.
In a written statement, he outlined “what matters is that the door for dialogue and the will to find a solution with positive results remains open.”
Unions Epopai, Sidikek, Sepaik and Sivaik are defiant over a government bill that would change the landscape in the energy market, over which the EAC currently holds a monopoly.
The bill would grant the Transmission System Operator (TSO) full autonomy from the semi-state power company, as part of a road map for opening up the electricity market to private producers by July 2019.
Unions see this as the beginning of the end of the EAC as they know it.
The government aims to make the TSO – which monitors transmission and production – a fully autonomous agency.
Currently the TSO is fully dependent on seconded staff from the EAC.
The TSO argues this needs to change, as seconded EAC technicians cannot possibly be given access to electricity competitors’ proprietary data.