Teachers unions on Sunday postponed a scheduled meeting to decide whether they would agree to an interim deal with the government concerning their terms of employment, Cyprus News Agency reported.
According to the report, the unions were expecting some initiatives on Sunday that could mean a breakthrough in the protracted dispute.
Later in the day, a new report said the three unions, Poed, Oelmek and Oltek, representing primary, secondary and technical teachers respectively, they were waiting for a bridging proposal from parents’ associations which they expected to receive on Sunday evening, which they would then evaluate.
The unions are also slated to meet with officials from the Diko party on Monday morning and in the afternoon with Akel.
Sources told the news agency earlier in the day they could not rule out that the meeting might still go ahead in the evening, but if not, it would be on Monday, depending on developments
They said “everything depends on the ongoing initiatives”.
According to the same sources, the unions were willing to find a way out of the deadlock and the ball was in the government’s court.
The unions have since Thursday, been mulling over a mediation proposal brought by the SEK umbrella trade union.
SEK’s proposal relates chiefly to procedural matters, such as that any changes to the employment terms of teachers must from now on be decided not unilaterally – by the employer, the government – but within the process of “institutional dialogue.”
It was designed to coax the unions into ending their industrial action by reassuring them no actions affecting them would be taken in the future without their input.
The three teachers’ unions said they were mulling the proposal, and would decide their course of action during a joint meeting originally slated for Sunday.
The crisis began in July, when the government announced a string of measures designed to streamline the operation of public schools.
Unions were up in arms when the education ministry decided to reduce the time previously afforded to senior union cadres to engage in trade-union activities during normal working hours. With the change, certain union cadres would have been forced to spend more time in the classroom.
The government has since largely walked this back, bringing a revised proposal where the top officials from each trade union will be allotted a certain amount of hours per week to engage in union work during normal working hours.