Opposition parties on Monday took the chance to criticise the government ahead of Labour Day, marked annually on May 1, while Sek union called for faster reform.
Main opposition, communist Akel, said global capitalism was facing the biggest crisis in its history and that “the conquests” of the second half of the 20th century “the result of hard and often bloody struggles of workers are being overturned” while economic inequalities were being exacerbated around the world.
In Cyprus, it said, the Anastasiades government “insists on dogmatically oriented neoliberal logic” and wants to dump the burden of the economic crisis on to the workers exclusively.
“Cyprus is listed as the country with the most dramatic widening social inequality in recent years in the EU,” the party said, while the recorded loss in purchasing power of wages now stands at 2002 levels.
One in four young people are unemployed and long-term unemployment was well above the European average, it added, while spending on health and social protection were among the lowest in the EU.
Opposition Diko agreed saying workers’ rights have been hit hard, due to the economic crisis, with unemployment skyrocketing, especially among young people.
“The Cypriot economy not only has not overcome its problems, but also faces new challenges, and all steps have to be taken to correct the mistakes of the past and address key issues now,” it said.
Sek union called for the speeding up of reforms and respect for collective agreements. It called for decent working conditions and steps to be taken to put an end to “the emerging form of precarious employment that replaces permanent jobs with the method of purchasing services, which affects social rights and benefits”.
The union also called for strengthening the labour inspection department to clamp down further on those who employ illegal workers.
In addition, it wants to see the adoption of measures for equal treatment of women at work with fair promotions and a better work-life balance for those with families. Young people, it said should organise themselves into trade unions to improve their collective bargaining power.