Cyprus Mail

Electricity Authority workers mull strike action

Workers at the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) will over the coming days take a series of votes to authorise – or not – their trade unions to take industrial action, including possible strikes, over three main grievances.

The meetings and secret ballots will be taking place until May 30.

The workers’ first grievance has to do with their contributions (deductions) for the national health scheme Gesy.

Currently, and as of March this year, EAC staff contribute 1.85 per cent of their salary to the Health Insurance Organisation for the purposes of Gesy.

This contribution is to go up to 2.90 per cent in June 2020, when Gesy is to be fully deployed.

At the same time, the workers are opposed to the planned phasing out of their health plan with the EAC, and want it kept in place. Their present plan affords them access to services from the private healthcare sector.

Their second gripe relates to the government’s decision to suspend compensation, in the form of backpay, following the administrative court’s recent decision that declared invalid benefits and salary cuts implemented in the broader public sector in 2012.

The ruling also meant that the affected individuals were entitled to immediate compensation for what they lost since 2012.

But the state is appealing that court decision, and wants to freeze the payment of any such compensation until a final judgment is delivered by the supreme court.

EAC workers want the compensation to be paid to them now.

Lastly, the syndicates are against a decision by the energy regulator that would force the EAC to tap its own reserves to pay for the leasing of mobile electricity generation units.

The mobile units are to be used for the summer of 2020 (June to September) as a contingency to prevent possible blackouts from energy spike usage.

The cost of leasing the units is estimated at between €30m to €50m. If the EAC’s reserves are not tapped, this extra expenditure would have to be transferred to customers.

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