Cyprus Mail

Introduction of minimum wage at centre of palace meeting

ΠτΔ – Αντιπροσωπεία ΠΕΟ // por – peo dele
A meeting at the palace on Thursday with Peo union leadership (PIO)

The introduction of a national minimum wage was at the centre of a meeting between Peo trade union federation with President Nicos Anastasiades at the presidential palace on Thursday.

Cyprus is one of the few EU member states without a minimum national wage, although employees from certain sectors of the economy are covered. The government has already announced that it plans to go ahead with a minimum wage and has been in discussions with trade unions and the employer groups on the practical aspects.

Peo general-secretary Sotiroulla Charalambous told reporters after the meeting that the confederation welcomed talks on a national minimum wage which needed to address important issues so that it does not serve as a tool to push salaries down.

Charalambous said that for sectors of the economy where there are collective agreements, the minimum wage guaranteed in those should serve as the benchmark.

In other cases, a mechanism needs to be developed that will cover the minimum wage and other benefits of employees not protected by a collective agreement.

“It is important that a dialogue is underway at the labour ministry with social partners, and this will continue,” she said.

Another issue discussed with the president was a strategy to employ third-country nationals, amid pressure from employers who say they cannot fill posts.

Charalambous said that it was important that any strategy ensure that there is a proper analysis of the actual needs for workers so as to ensure that third country nationals do not serve as a cheap labour alternative and are used to erode the benefits and wages of others.

In a written statement issued after the meeting, the presidency said that Anastasiades had briefed Peo’s leadership about developments as regards implementation of a national minimum wage, the strategy to employ third country nationals, the national health scheme Gesy and modernisation of the pension scheme.

The president made special reference to the special schemes to deal with the pandemic which had benefited 201,000 employees, unemployed and employers at a total cost of more than €2bn and contributed to reducing unemployment to the lowest levels since 2009.

Special reference was also made to the policies that were implemented to protect workers’ rights.

Taking part in the meeting on the government’s side were the ministers of finance and labour, the undersecretary to the president, the government and deputy government spokespersons and other officials.

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