A few dozen Peo union members gathered near Limassol’s casino resort ahead of Tuesday’s grand opening, to demonstrate against the company’s refusal to allow unionisation on the premises at the City of Dreams Mediterranean.

Under the scorching heat and waving the union’s red flag, with music blasting in the background, general secretary of the Syxpa-Peo branch Neophytos Timinis said “we are holding a peaceful protest against the company’s refusal to allow us entry into the premises to unionise.”

Timinis said this was the workers constitutional right and added: “It is unacceptable that billions have been invested to build this diamond before us, but it doesn’t allow employees the right to choose which union to join, if any at all. Nor does it give them the right to stay informed by their union rep.”

The small protest was not held outside the main entrance of the resort, but rather at the small roundabout on the road to the casino a few hundred metres down, where the imposing building was visible in the background. The union had no plan to disrupt the opening.

The Cyprus Mail understands Melco, the gaming and resort company, has told unions they could unionise outside of the premises.

Though the protest was initially going to be held between Peo and Deok unions, the latter pulled out the previous day, after the labour minister’s tried to de-escalate the situation. The minister later thanked Deok for its actions.

“Our right to unionise is set in the law and the company has violated this for the past five years,” Timinis told gatherers, who travelled from all districts to attend the protest.

More measures may be announced next week “if the company doesn’t budge,” he added.

Last week, Melco described the protests as “unfounded and poorly timed” stressing it was committed to the well-being of its personnel. It added that it has fully adhered to the laws and labour relations of the country for the past five years of its operations.