City of Dreams Mediterranean spoke out on Friday calling the planned union protests outside the casino resort slated for Tuesday “unfounded and poorly timed” as the labour minister has stepped in to “de-escalate the situation.”

In a brief press release by Melco, the gaming and resort company stressed it was committed to the well-being of its personnel and has fully adhered to the laws and labour relations of the country for the past five years of its operations.

“Tuesday is a special day for Cyprus as the largest Integrated Resort Casino in Europe is opening its doors,” Melco said.

Though the official opening to the public is on Monday, the resort in Zakaki, Limassol, is hosting a slew of celebratory events on Tuesday to mark the event, including a press conference and a gala dinner.

It is on this day that unions chose to hold a protest, likely to piggyback from some of the fanfare and media. Peo and Deok unions said they will be at the premises throughout the day handing out flyers and will begin their protest at 5.30pm.

“While we respect the right of PEO and DEOK to hold a protest at our resort on Tuesday, it is unfounded and poorly timed in what should be a celebratory day for Cyprus,” Melco said.

Peo union rep Neophytos Timinis told the Cyprus Mail that Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou had interfered in the matter and held a meeting with the unions earlier on Friday.

“We are satisfied with his positive mediation,” Timinis said.

Though nothing concrete emerged from the meeting, unions said they are on standby for more talks if necessary.

Sources from the labour ministry told the Cyprus Mail Panayiotou is in contact with both sides seeking to “de-escalate the situation and find a resolution to the problem, with the competent authorities of the ministry.”

The issue stems from what the unions decry the company forbidding them to enter the premises to unionise.

“We have been operating in Cyprus for the past five years and we have fully adhered to the laws and labour relations of the Republic and we are committed to continue to do so, always in cooperation with the relevant authorities,” Melco stressed.

Timinis maintains there are 150 to 200 union members who work at the casino resort but the company had barred reps from accessing the workplace in their union capacity for the past five years.

He added Peo and Deok had reported the matter to the labour relations department three weeks ago and have held five meetings with the casino resort management, which did not end with the unions having their demands met.

The union rep added unionising is a constitutional right. “It’s not our goal to ruin their opening day or tarnish Cyprus’ image abroad. We are trying to uphold our rights, this is possibly Cyprus’ biggest employer we’re talking about.”

Melco’s statement alluded to the scope of its staff, saying “the City of Dreams Mediterranean is the biggest investment of its kind in Cyprus, a project that provides employment to hundreds of Cypriots, significantly enhances its tourism product, and contributes to its economic growth.

“We are committed to the well-being of our colleagues as part of our culture. Melco has been recognised as a best employer.”

It added it has upheld all laws and labour relations for the past five years and remains committed to doing so.

According to Timinis, the company has told unions they are free to hold any meetings outside of the resort and not on the premises.

City of Dreams Mediterranean in Zakaki is Melco’s first venture in Europe with 500 guest rooms and suites, including the largest presidential suite on the island.

The casino development spans 7,500 square metres, while it will offer eight restaurants and bars to the public. The integrated resort also includes a designer shopping promenade, entertainment featuring guest DJs and functions “of all sizes” ranging from bespoke weddings to large-scale conferences and concerts.