PORT workers and tallymen working at Limassol harbour gave their unions the green light on Thursday to initiate strike action, which if implemented could bring the island’s main cargo port to a grind.
Workers belonging to the PEO, SEK and Deok unions voted unanimously to authorise their respective syndicates to strike unless the government meets their demands.
Union reps said that if within the coming week no deliberations get underway addressing their grievances, workers would stage a 24-hour strike on January 21.
Port workers are in a dispute with the cargo terminal operators over their collective agreement. They say they will not accept any alterations to the agreement attempted by the employers.
The government intends to appoint a court of arbitration to resolve the dispute. The court is to comprise a judge, plus two other members each representing the employers and the workers, respectively.
Port workers are against the process, and have refused to nominate their representative to the body.
They have warned that on the same day that the cabinet appoints the judge to the arbitration court, they will carry out a strike and demonstrate outside the presidential palace.
The port’s commercial operations were privatised at the beginning of 2017.
In a related issue, porters said that as of February 1, they will not permit any non-registered workers to work at the pier.
After the port was privatised, a disagreement emerged where the registered port workers at the time demanded that they handle 100 per cent of the general cargo in the terminal.
The transport ministry has been asked to furnish a legal opinion on the matter; it is still pending