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EAC unions get green light to ballot members for strikes

eac union officials
EAC union officials (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

Electricity authority unions got the green light on Tuesday to further consult with their members on taking measures – typically meaning strike action – should their grievances not be addressed.

Their concerns largely stem from proposed and legislated changes which will eventually lead to a major shakeup of the energy industry in Cyprus.

The unions, Epopai, Sidikek, Sepaik, Sivaik – whose members work for the EAC staff – met Energy Minister Natasa Pilides on Tuesday.

Head of Epopai Kyriacos Tafounas said after the meeting that Pilides largely agreed with their positions and promised to discuss their concerns with the cabinet.

He outlined their main concerns as being the mishandling of the Dhekelia power plant as the outdated and cost-inefficient units must be upgraded. The representative pushed for the modernisation of the plant to meet the latest standards and help alleviate the massive fines passed on to consumers due to the heavy pollutants of the plant.

Tafounas further criticised the EAC having been stripped of being the sole supervisor of electrical installations – saying the move weakens safety standards for consumers and staff.

He also argued that the EAC is being prevented both from investing in RES production as well as procuring RES energy, a strategy which would equip it with a cheaper energy mix – and the ability to pass on decreased costs to consumers.

Tafounas also supported the request by the EAC board for an additional budget as he said the EAC will clearly be required to hire more staff to fulfill its obligations.

The union complaints come as the industry is set for a significant shakeup – although the ever-elusive date for opening up the electricity market appears to have been pushed back to 2023.

Among other things, the necessary legal regulations have yet to be passed by parliament.

Originally, the market was due to have been opened up in July 2014; it was then put back to July 2016, then July 2019, then December 2020, and most recently October 2022.

 

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