MPs on Tuesday gave the government until May to table a bill on a minimum national wage, warning that after the deadline expires, they would discuss the proposals submitted by the Greens, the Citizens Alliance and Elam instead.
The issue was discussed at the House labour committee with MPs calling for the establishment of a national minimum wage to meet today’s conditions.
MPs heard that Cyprus is among the four EU member states that do not have a fixed minimum wage while 55 per cent of employees in Cyprus have not signed a collective agreement.
Head of the committee Akel MP Andreas Fakontis said after the meeting that the minimum wage is currently set by a decree for only nine occupations and that it has remained frozen since 2012.
A minimum wage of €870 per month is required for shop assistants, nurses’ assistants, clerks, hairdressers and nursery assistants. The cabinet also issued a decree last January on minimum salaries for a number of professions in the hotel industry.
Fakontis criticised the government for insisting it would present a bill on the national minimum wage once unemployment drops to under 5 per cent. Parliament however, he said, has been trying to exert pressure for the procedure on setting the national minimum wage to be completed. Unemployment in Cyprus is now at around 7.6 per cent.
The Akel MP said that two government studies have completed and will be tabled to the cabinet at the end of March. After their approval by cabinet, a social dialogue will be launched to prepare the final text which will be tabled to the House.
Head of the Citizens’ Alliance Giorgos Lillikas said that it was imperative for the minimum wage to be introduced. He also said that a bill has been tabled to the European Parliament which will soon become a directive to all member states to introduce a national minimum wage.
The Citizens’ Alliance has been pushing for the minimum wage to be set at €1,125.
The Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis said employers’ profits were restored to pre-crisis levels but not employees’ wages.