Cyprus Mail
BusinessCyprusCyprus Business News

Unions call for more equitable wealth distribution, seek higher wages

the federation said that the value of workers was proven during periods of crisis
The federation said that the value of workers was proven during periods of crisis

The federation of independent trade unions (Poaso) this week called for an increase in salaries and for the cost-of-living-allowance (CoLA) in Cyprus to be fully reinstated.

CoLA, which refers to the automatic indexation of wages according to the cost of living and is informed by the Cyprus Consumer Price Index (CPI), is currently capped at half of its true value, something which Poaso deems inadequate.

The federation said that these measures would help people cope with soaring inflation, the decline in real income, as well as the at-risk-of-poverty rate.

According to the federation, the average annual family income in Cyprus, based on data provided by the Cyprus Statistical Service (Cystat), currently stands at €34,229, which corresponds to €2,633 per month.

Poaso then referenced a newspaper interview by economist Stelios Platis, in which he explained that a family of four living in Cyprus requires a net income of approximately €3,000 to €3,500 per month to maintain a decent lifestyle.

Moreover, it referenced a recent report by the statistical service stating that over 17 per cent of the population in Cyprus, or 154,000 people, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2021.

This means that 17.3 per cent of the population was living in households whose disposable income was below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold or was severely materially and socially deprived or was living in households with very low work intensity.

“The pandemic and the war in Ukraine, together with the sanctions imposed on Russia, have led to a spike in the prices of raw materials for industry, energy, food, and transport, resulting in double-digit inflation, an increase in interest rates and the erosion of the purchasing value of wages,” the federation said.

That is why, the federation added, trade unions across Europe are calling for governments to intervene in order to restore true purchasing power and help workers with attaining fair salary increases.

“The taxation of windfall profits generated by energy companies, with the revenue being used to mitigate energy costs for consumers, has also been a persistent demand across Europe”, the federation said, noting that inflation is being fueled by high energy prices and not wages.

“Tens of thousands of transport workers in England, on buses, underground and overground rail, are currently on strike action for higher wages and better working conditions,” it added, explaining that workers in other British industries, including dock workers, lawyers, teachers, and nurses, are also preparing various strike actions in support of wage-related demands.

What is more, the federation also said that the European Commission asserts that rising energy prices remain the main driver of inflation, while at the same time maintaining that persistent feedback between wages and inflation is unlikely to develop, since wage growth in real terms remains negative.

This is in reference to a recent paper released by the ECB which noted that in terms of private sector wages, various analyses concluded that “the likelihood of wage-setting schemes triggering second-round effects via inflation indexation is relatively limited in the euro area, particularly when it comes to energy inflation”.

The federation went on to say that it agrees with University of Cyprus professor Stavros Zenios, who emphasised that the value of workers, even those with low skills, was demonstrated both during the banking crisis and the pandemic.

“We cannot, for example, have the taxpayer bail out banks from their mistakes or airlines from the issues caused by lockdowns, but then revert to the absolute dominance of shareholders and markets,” the federation said.

“There must be greater worker participation in how wealth is distributed”, it concluded.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Cypriot patients in Israel in good health post-attacks

Nikolaos Prakas

South African property giant invests in Nicosia malls

Souzana Psara

Getting to core of Cyprus wine industry

George Kassianos

Platform opens for 2024 conscript soldier declarations

Jonathan Shkurko

Reports in flooded drug warehouse case

Nikolaos Prakas

Top 5 Cryptocurrencies to buy in 2024

CM Guest Columnist