Cyprus Mail

Union talks with Co-op fail to reach a deal  

Unions representing workers at the Cyprus Cooperative Bank (CCB) on Thursday failed to reach agreement with the bank’s management over a proposed voluntary exit plan, with the main bank employees’ union threatening strikes should they discover that any worker was being ‘coerced’ into taking up the redundancy package.

No new meeting was scheduled with CCB management.

The syndicates are in talks with the state-owned lender over the compensation to be awarded to some 900 employees who are to leave the CCB after it was acquired by Hellenic Bank.

In a statement following Thursday’s meeting, bank employees’ union Etyk stressed that the exit plan “must be voluntary and that no pressure or blackmail should be brought to bear on the employees.

“Today we again warned that, should any direct or indirect pressure or coercion be exerted on our colleagues to sign up for the plan, our organisation shall not hesitate to take measures, including strike action.”

Etyk said it would continue to “monitor” the matter and update its members accordingly.

Under the CCB management’s proposal, the compensation package for departing employees would range from €20,000 to a cap of €170,000.

The formula calculating compensation consists of the number of years of service, divided by four, and multiplied by an individual’s current wages.

By contrast, Etyk wants the compensation to amount to five annual salaries, with a minimum payout of €100,000 and a maximum of €200,000.

The redundancy cost will be borne by taxpayers.

Technically this has been dubbed a voluntary retirement package, even though in actuality CCB workers are state employees.

State employees who are made redundant are entitled to a state redundancy package, stipulated by law. It is based on years of service and has a ceiling below €40,000.

Moreover, it is understood that Hellenic does not get to choose which (former) CCB employees it will keep.

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