Cyprus Mail

CoLA compromise deal signed, labour peace restored (Update 2)

Υπουργός Εργασίας – Συνάντηση με κ
The deal being signed

President Nikos Christodoulides said he was pleased with the cost of living allowance (CoLA) agreement signed on Friday afternoon which is putting an end to a long-standing labour dispute.

The issue of CoLa payment was part of the president’s election campaign, and upon his election he initiated meetings with social partners in an effort to resolve the matter.

Commenting on the deal, Christodoulides expressed his “deep satisfaction” noting the importance of labour peace. The president then thanked the social partners but also the labour and finance minister for their efforts.

The agreement was signed by all competent stakeholders during a meeting at the labour ministry on Friday evening.

“This success belongs to everyone because together we tried and together we managed to come to an agreement,” the Labour Minister said after the signing. He also thanked the social partners “for their cooperation and the constructive attitude they have shown in assessing the data with rationality and responsibility.”

“Our country is facing great challenges and our government can manage them effectively with unity…moving forward with steady steps and finding solutions to difficult problems,” he added.

Both employers and trade unions thanked the Labour Minister for his efforts and noted that the way is now open for discussion of other issues of concern to the labour market.

The proposal entails that starting June, CoLA will be paid out at 66.7 per cent of the consumer price index, up from the current 50 per cent.

It also includes a provision that the matter will be resolved in its entirety by 2025.

This agreement puts an end to a long-lasting dispute over CoLA payment that led to nationwide strikes.

The last union to agree to the proposal was Peo, whose position was communicated about an hour before the scheduled meeting.

Speaking after an extraordinary meeting of Peo’s general council, the union’s general secretary Soteroula Charalambous said “we have been fighting an uphill battle for CoLa”.

Although the compromise proposal does not meet the union’s main objective for a 100 per cent payment, Charalambous said they agreed to it, considering the current data.

“The unacceptable attitude of the employers’ organisations…was not addressed decisively and effectively by the previous and present government,” which played a mediation role, Peo’s general secretary said.

However, she said the proposal is an improvement that puts the unions closer to the goal of full CoLA restoration.

“Through the efforts we have made since the presentation of the main parameters of the minister’s proposal, we have managed to reaffirm that the basis of the discussion that will take place will be the existing transitional agreement.

“Our message to workers, [is] that the struggle continues,” she noted.

Pasydy, Deok, Sek and Poaso unions had earlier said they could give their blessing to the CoLA proposal. Employer organisations Oev and Keve have also – somewhat reluctantly, agreed.

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