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Labour unions threaten to mobilise if cost-of-living-allowance is not reinstated

Peo trade union protest
File photo

The Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) said on Wednesday that they are disappointed and “deeply concerned” by statements from unions Sek and Peo to mobilise their workers if the cost-of-living allowance (CoLA) fails to be reinstated.

According to Oev, the unions have made “unconstructive statements” regarding the cost-of-living allowance.

“A few days before the start of the public dialogue about the present and future of CoLA, the two unions seem to be choosing a road of confrontation and conflict by setting ultimatums,” the federation said.

Oev added that they are ready to enter a fruitful dialogue, in good faith and with a positive attitude to seek arrangements that will serve the country in the wake of the biggest economic storm that Europe has faced since the Second World War.

They also called on the minister of labour to make the situation clear, ahead of the talks to be held on November 7, “so that there is a point.”

On Tuesday, Sek trade union warned that if the cost-of-living allowance (CoLA) fails to be fully reinstated they will mobilise their workers.

“Reinstating the cost-of-living allowance is not negotiable,” secretary general of the union Andreas Matsas said.

“We will not hesitate to mobilise.”

Matsas made statements after a general council meeting of the union, which defined the line of the trade union in view of the session of the Labour Consultative Body (Ess) on November 7.

Minister of Labour Kyriakos Koushos and trade unions are at odds, with the former calling for the abolition of CoLA and the latter campaigning for its full reinstatement.

Answering a question about what Sek will do if the restoration of CoLA is not promoted, Matsas said that Sek considers that at this moment the state’s capabilities to manage social issues and the level of the welfare state are being judged.

“We have decided that in the event that there is a different approach either from the employers’ side or from the government regarding our request for the full reinstatement of CoLA, we will not hesitate to mobilise,” he said.

At the same time, the leader of Sek said that they express their commitment to the strengthening of collective agreements through the assertion of salary increases and the improvement of similar benefits, giving particular emphasis and priority to consolidating the institution of welfare funds as the second pillar of pension benefits.

Last week, Matsas said the position of the trade unions was clear, adding that it was imperative to reinstate CoLA to “restore the purchasing power of wages.”

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