Workers at Limassol port threatened on Friday to go on indefinite strike if their demands over collective agreements were not accepted within the next eight days.
The latest threat came after Friday’s two-hour work stoppage between 8am and 10am to protest over the long delay in reaching an agreement with their employers over their collective agreement, which they say the port’s managers have misinterpreted and thus violated.
The work stoppage affected the servicing of a vessel at the DP World Limassol terminal and two merchant ships at the Eurogate terminal, workers said.
Peo union representative, Christos Christofi, said that the companies are failing to hire workers according to the collective agreement and are misinterpreting its provisions over salaries.
There is also a pending disagreement with the companies over who has the right to work at the docks.
According to the law on dockworkers, he said, only this group of professionals are allowed to carry out set duties, but other staff are often asked to do them. This raises safety issues.
He added that the transport ministry had also said that the law on dockworkers ought to be respected.
The workers decided at a general meeting that took place during the work stoppage to give eight days to the companies and the transport ministry to provide solutions. After that, they will escalate measures, including going on indefinite strike.
The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2017. The work stoppage was announced after another round of consultations between the unions and the port’s managing companies failed. The consultations were being arbitrated by the transport ministry that offered to facilitate the talks in a bid to help bridge differences.
The workers downed tools earlier in the year over the same issue.
An impromptu work stoppage last October ended after union reps received written reassurances from the workers’ employer, Eurogate Container Terminal, over the negotiations for the collective agreement.
Earlier in the same week, workers from P&O Maritime Cyprus had stopped working for two hours, saying their working conditions were difficult, and that they worked long hours and shifts.
Their unions said at the time that there had been no change in working conditions despite four-month long efforts to reach an agreement.