The cost of living automatic price index adjustment (Cola) is to be discussed at a meeting scheduled with the ministry of labour for November 7.

Minister of labour and social insurance Kyriakos Koushos and employers’ organisations are at loggerheads with the unions, with the former calling for the abolition of Cola and the later campaigning for its full reinstatement.

General-secretary of the workers confederation (Sek), Andreas Matsas, said the position of the trade unions was clear and unambiguous, adding that it was imperative to reinstitute Cola to “restore the purchasing power of wages.”

Matsas argued that in today’s economic situation Cola would enable workers to meet their basic needs while also supporting the real economy and encouraging foreign investment, adding that it is also important for maintaining peaceful labour relations.

The issue of pension reform should also be done holistically, he said, including the actuarial readjustment of 12 per cent to ensure the smooth course of the social insurance fund and to lay the right foundations for the reform of the institution.

General-secretary of the Pancyprian labour federation (Peo), Sotiroulla Charalambous stated that a dialogue must be held with the aim of having new Cola performance regulation in place as of January 1, 2023, adding that a central element is that workers from third countries stop being used as cheap labour and as a mechanism deregulator. Minimum wage workers and coverage of holidays was also on the agenda, she said.

The Secretary-general of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kebe), Marios Tsiakkis, whose stance is directly opposed to the unions’, stated that the permanent position of Kebe is that “Cola as an institution has a wrong way of operation and implementation because it reproduces inflation and should be abolished” and added that a more modern, competitive, and sustainable way of updating the salaries must be found.

Michalis Antoniou, Director General of the Employers and Industrialists organisation (Oev) echoing these statements said that Oev’s position is that “Cola has completed its cycle and must be abolished,” and that it harms the economy and erodes competitiveness.