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Labour minister pessimistic about CoLa solution after meeting with employers’ unions

Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos at last 's meeting with Oev and Kebe members
Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos at today's meeting with Oev and Kebe members

Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos on Monday said he was pessimistic a solution could be found to resolve the ongoing spat between unions and employers over the cost-of-living allowance (CoLA).

Koushos had an 11am meeting with representatives from the Cyprus chamber of commerce (Keve) and the employers and industrialists’ federation (Oev).

Once the meeting was wrapped Koushos told reporters he could not say much as negotiations are still ongoing. However, he noted he was not positive about the prospects.

“I have completed my meeting with employer’s organisations. I have heard their views. I will hold similar talks with unions and look forward to our joint meeting on Thursday, where I will evaluate the situation and decisions will be made.”

Representatives from employer organisations said they did not wish to comment.

Prior to the meeting Koushos said he was hoping to find common ground between social partners, trade unions and the employer organisations.

Koushos stressed the government’s role was to mediate to help find a solution but did not have the authority to intervene.

He expressed his willingness to submit a proposal which can help bridge the differences between the two sides, though there must be some leeway for him to do so, he said. If both sides do not budge from their positions, a proposal will not be submitted.

Isotita union stressed employers are legally required to implement CoLA. “This is not a pay raise but a measure to ensure purchasing power remains unchanged at a time of inflation.”

The unions, who threatened strike action over the issue last week, are asking for a full restoration of CoLA instead of the current 50 per cent, while the employers’ organisations consider that CoLA should be scrapped entirely.

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