Cyprus Mail

EAC unions object to presence of new group at meeting with ministers (updated)

angry mob

Four electricity authority (EAC) trade unions protested the presence of a fifth union – which opposes their position – at a meeting with competent ministers on Friday aiming to discuss issues concerning the authority.

Representatives from Epopai, Sidikek-Peo, Syvaek and Sepaek refused to enter the room where the meeting was due to be held at the finance ministry in protest that a fifth union, Astepaek, which disagrees with their position, also attended.

The four said they represent 96 per cent of workers at the authority.

In the end, the meeting with the energy, finance and labour minsters started with a 45-minute delay in which only Astepaek took part.

This lasted for 20 minutes, with the other four trade unions waiting outside. After that, the remaining unions began a separate meeting with the ministers.

Epopai head Kyriakos Tafounas told CNA that while the previous meeting was attended by the four unions, the fifth was invited to the meeting under the pretext that it was recently registered.

The four unions “have been cooperating for decades on all the problems in the authority,” he said, adding that the other union disagrees with their positions.

If the ministers want to see this guild and hear its views, Tafounas said this can be done separately. “For these serious issues raised by the four unions, a [joint] meeting will not take place.”

Before the meeting, Astepaek had published a statement calling for equal contribution of EAC to renewable energy sources (RES). They said that private producers reached 15 per cent of RES and the corresponding percentage should be given to the authority, since the EU directives provide for 35 per cent green energy in recent years.

EAC’s involvement in the production of renewable energy is among the issues of concern raised by the four unions. Others include the staffing of the authority and the polluting units at the Dhekelia power plant which, they said, must cease operations.

The meeting was initially set for January 13, but was postponed due to Labour Minister Kyriacos Koushos’ illness.

EAC trade unions have threatened to enforce work-to-rule unless the government meets their demands – which relate to the hiring of an additional 370 workers at the state-run power company, the status of the Dhekelia power station, and the EAC’s role in the renewables sector.

Imminent strike action, and power cuts, were averted back in December when Koushos bought the government some time.

Unions agreed to hold off on going on strike and to engage with the finance and energy ministers.

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