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Contract government workers to stage 48-hour strike (updated)

Workers from Nicosia Citizens' Service Centre on strike on Wednesday

Contract workers in the government sector will stage a 48 hour strike on Monday and Tuesday to protest over not getting the same treatment as their colleagues with permanent posts.

The move was decided at a meeting of the board of their union Isotita on Saturday evening, following a failure to make any progress during a meeting with representatives from the ministry of finance on Friday.

On Wednesday initial action by the union saw most Citizen Service Centres across the island halt operations for two hours on Wednesday morning, with actions continuing on Thursday and Friday.

However the Finance Ministry announced on Sunday that in contrast to the strikes in the week, the Citizens Service Centres will remain open though the two days. However, service is expected to be slow because of the reduced number of staff while priority will be given to urgent cases.

The union says an EU directive on fixed-term employment that stipulates that when workers are on fixed-term contracts they must not face unjustified discrimination is not being honoured by the state.

According to the union during Friday’s meeting the finance ministry refused to accept Isotita demands that temporary and contract workers are allowed to join the same pension programme offered to full time staff and also pay the same reduced contribution to social insurance.

The same response, the union said, was given to their demands that those who do the same work are on the same scale, regardless of whether they are contract workers or permanent staff.

If an agreement is reached during the strike it will be called off, otherwise measures will be stepped up the union warned.

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