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Central Bank agrees collective agreement in effort to streamline structure

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The Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) announced on Thursday that it has signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Cyprus Union of Bank Employees (Etyk).

“Today’s agreement is a milestone for the central bank,” CBC Governor Constantinos Herodotou said after the signing.

Herodotou said that the new agreement will see the central bank simplify its organisational structure, which will consist of ten employment levels.

“Previously, there were multiple structures with 27 different levels, hindering the ability to make decisions and adversely affecting the central bank’s effectiveness,” Herodotou explained, before thanking both the central bank’s and the union’s negotiating teams for reaching an accord.

Loizos Hadjicostis, the union’s honorary president, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, which he described as “well-balanced”.

“The agreement can facilitate the improvement of the central bank’s performance and functionality, while at the same time allowing it to respect its workers,” he said, adding that he “hopes that the agreed-upon terms are honoured”.

Hadjicostis also said that important steps forwards have been taken with the new administration of the central bank, and expressed his wish that their good cooperation continues in the future.

Regarding the terms of the new agreement, Hatzicostis said that while no new financial benefits have been added, these arise through the structural reorganisation that has taken place, which improves the prospects for development and promotions to the staff.

He added that the agreement’s validity covers the period between the start of 2017 and December 31, 2021.

For any provisions not mentioned in the new contract, the existing terms still apply, the Etyk honorary president clarified.

Herodotou said that the financial cost of the new agreement is the result of a cost analysis that has been approved by the central bank’s board of directors.

“We have the perfect balance between wanting to modernise and restructure the central bank, as well as ensuring peace with its staff, in order to improve the central bank,” Herodotou said.

Meanwhile, Herodotou also announced that the central bank has created a new service for financial ethics, which will be able to receive consumer complaints.

Herodotou revealed the creation of the new service while answering a question on the issue of increased bank charges, with the central bank governor saying that the service has, up to this point, not received any complaints about banks refusing to open an account with basic features.

“The governor stated that, according to the legislation, banks are required to open at least one basic payment account per consumer, not per bank.

“If a fellow citizen does not have an account, the bank has no right to deny it,” Herodotou said.

When questioned on the pricing policy of Cypriot banks, Herodotou said that the law only allows for the state to intervene solely in the case of basic accounts.

“Banks are private companies and the central bank does not have the authority to dictate what they charge for other services,” Herodotou said.

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