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Unions say conditions set for dialogue at EAC after strike fears

President Nicos Anastasiades with the unions on Friday

Union leaders said Friday the conditions were created to overcome labour issues at the electricity authority where workers have threatened to go on strike over pay and other demands that the management is unwilling to satisfy.

Unions met President Nicos Anastasiades to discuss developments at the EAC but they made it clear that the issue of regulating strikes in essential services had not been mooted as reports had suggested before the meeting which was also attended by the ministers of finance and labour.

SEK chief Andreas Matsas said the unions were asked to lend their support so labour issues could be overcome in various organisations.

He said they would make the necessary contacts … “to achieve normalcy as regards the management of health funds and in general, matters that concern the smooth operation of public organisations.”

“The foundations and the conditions have been set to overcome the crisis at the EAC through a targeted dialogue,” he added.

Matsas said they would convey a message to the workers that “the conditions are created so that existing outstanding problems will be handled and overcome through a healthy dialogue with the authority’s board.”

He said the issue of regulating strikes in essential services had not been discussed.

“It was made clear that issues must be handled before bigger problems arise that are difficult to manage,” Matsas said.

A key grievance relates to the government’s decision to suspend compensation, in the form of back pay, 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.

Unions also want the EAC to apply the pay scale rises resulting from the reversal and maintain the organisation’s healthcare fund in its current form despite the introduction of the national health scheme (Gesy).

As the employer, the EAC pays 5.9 per cent on the workers’ salaries into the fund on top of 1.85 per cent for the Gesy. The EAC has proposed paying the difference into the separate health fund.

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