Cyprus Mail

Union slams minimum wage, points to exploitation loopholes

The independent trade union federation (Poaso) expressed its strong disappointment with the amount set for the national minimum wage and raised concerns about the absence of several important safeguards for its effectiveness.

In a statement on Friday the union organisation stated that the result of the year-long consultations and efforts to ensure a decent living wage for the most vulnerable workers has fallen short of expectations.

“The originally proposed amount of €885 ​​and €940 after six months, after a year where inflation has risen by 10 per cent, should be set to around €1000, as is the recommendation of the European Commission,” Poaso argued, saying that the amount settled upon does not correspond to today’s difficult conditions and the rise in cost of living.

In particular, Poaso criticised the lack of specification of an hourly minimum wage, saying that this leaves a loophole for employers to exploit, diluting the minimum wage requirement by simply extending working hours.

Another serious shortcoming, Poaso claimed, was the failure to consent to the request of the unions that where a collective agreement is in place, with a higher minimum wage than the one set by default, that the former be honoured as had been the stated intention of late Minister of Labour, Zeta Emilianidou.

“The omission of this accepted principle creates conditions for the undermining of collective agreements and risks the establishment of minimum wage in future through labour contracts,” Poaso said.

Additionally, Poaso stated, the omission from the determined minimum wage of workers under 18, gives employers an opportunity to exploit young people, under the guise of temporary work. Workers in the agricultural and animal husbandry sectors and domestic helpers are also excluded from the minimum wage requirement.

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