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Government says talks on national minimum wage when conditions allow

ΠτΔ – Υπουργικό Συμβούλιο // Por – Coun
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Cabinet on Wednesday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to launch a social dialogue on establishing a national minimum wage when conditions allow.

According to deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas, cabinet reaffirmed the government’s position, recorded in President Nicos Anastasiades’ administration programme, to start a social dialogue for the introduction of the national minimum wage when full-employment conditions are reached.

Currently minimum wage requirements apply only for certain occupations. Trade unions have been pressing for these requirements to be expanded across the board.

The labour ministry has completed all relevant studies whose findings include analyses on how to introduce the national minimum wage, specialised quantitative analyses of the effects on the labour market, social policy, but also on other aspects of the economy, as well as evaluation of the mechanisms for the regular revision of the amount of the minimum wage.

Sentonas said, however, that as a result of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, employment conditions have deteriorated.

“While before the pandemic unemployment was close to six per cent, which was close to full employment conditions, today, based on the latest data, unemployment is at eight per cent mainly due to the severe blow to the tourism sector,” he said.

“However, with today’s decision of the Council of Ministers, the government reaffirms its position and will to start the social dialogue for the implementation of the national minimum wage when full employment conditions are achieved, when unemployment is around five per cent.”

The government is trying to woo opposition to get more votes in favour of the state budget for 2021 that was rejected last December after Diko refused to vote in favour, demanding a probe into the island’s controversial citizenship-by-investment programme by the auditor general.

The governmental presented a revised bill to include some of the proposals of the opposition parties that call for more generous social benefits.

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