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Unions disagree with Okypy’s proposal on hospital labour agreements

hospital strikes
Photo by Christos Theodorides

Labour unions on Friday disagreed with the new proposal sent by the state health services organisation (Okypy) to the health ministry, in an ongoing spat over labour agreements at the state hospitals.

Representatives from the unions said however that they will continue the dialogue with Okypy, and “if things change, there might be an agreement”.

Unions continued to call for their members working at the state hospitals to have collective labour agreements, but to also include them on the pay grade scales, so that the worker can know what raises they will receive each year.

The general secretary of Sek union George Constantinou said they can discuss the proposal that was given to them, and that the union will discuss the proposal in the coming days.

He emphasised that the unions do not agree with this specific proposal, however, he noted that “if some things change during the dialogue, maybe there will be an agreement”.

“Right now, we are in dialogue, because we seek dialogue. We don’t want it to be seen that we are not discussing and are going to create a problem for the hospitals, which have an important role to play,” he said.

“It is a sensitive area, but the way staff are treated by the directorate [of Okypy] is not the right one and it should change,” he added.

General secretary of Peo, Nikos Gregoriou said that proposal form Okypy “does not bridge the gap”.

He also said that they will examine the proposal and continue the discussion.

Meanwhile, speaking to the Cyprus New Agency (CNA), spokesman of Okypy Pambos Charilaou said that the dialogue between them and the unions is continuing, and that various questions have been placed by the unions, which will need to be sent in writing by next week.

After Okypy ha answered the questions in writing, Charilaou said that a new meeting would be held with Health Minister Popi Kanari, to see if there is room to move forward.

Charilaou said that they plan to try and have the meeting as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of the year.

Commenting on the proposal currently on the table, Charilaou said it concerns two time periods, one is until 2025 and the second from 2026 onwards. During the first period, across the board salary increases will be granted that will not be based on an evaluation system, since it does not exist now and must be done and agreed with the unions.

After 2026, he explained, the organisation will continue to give the fixed salary increase and will additionally give a variable salary increase which will be based on an evaluation system and will depend on the financial statements of the organisation.

Specifically, the Okypy proposal states that until 2025 a 1 per cent fixed increase will be given, an adjustment of the fixed increase from 0-150 per cent, and 1 per cent variable increase which will be granted for these years.

From 2026, a 1 per cent fixed increase is proposed, an adjustment of the fixed increase from 0-150 per cent and a variable increase from 0 per cent-1.5 per cent based on an evaluation system.

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