Low wage earning public sector workers protested on Monday outside the presidential palace, as a decision was expected from the finance ministry was expected on rectifying the salary discrepancies.
Monday’s protest was organised by trade union Isotita (Equality) with participants marching to the ministry of finance over the issues.
The day marks a milestone in the struggle of low-wage workers to secure a decent wage and decent living conditions, Isotita said.
In its announcement, the union said that the high cost of living has driven low-paid workers to their limits.
“Salaries on the order of 1,100 to 1,300 euros after 15-20 years of work are degrading and do not suffice to secure dignified living conditions to workers and their families,” the announcement continued.
“United [in strength and determination] we claim what we are entitled to and we will not allow anyone to decide for us without us,” the union said, calling on workers to send a “powerful message of dignity and determination”.
The low-paid workers have previously expressed outrage that a proposal for wage adjustments, which they said had not included the Isotita union, which had been kept out of discussions with the government.
“Today we are here to claim what belongs to us, as the members of the union have been working for 20 years in the public sector with pitiful wages and it is time to fix some things,” the head of the Isotita secretarial branch Lina Andreou said.
“The time of slavery is over. An agreement has been pre-agreed on, which is currently being taken back, the government has derailed its pre-election commitments, as well as the agreement reached on October 31.”
Asked which part of the agreement the government breached, Andreou said that a month after the agreement, not only has there been no official announcement from the government, but it is reported that the previous service of some employees, while they were doing the same work as the permanent ones will be counted by percentage.
In a question about the announcement issued by the trade unions Pasydy, Sek, and Peo, according to which the government is expected to present its final position on Monday, Andreou said that there is no information from the three trade unions, adding that Isotita was excluded from the negotiations and expressed the question why the aforementioned unions give so much space and time to the dialogue.
“The agreement was not with the union Isotita, but the unions Pasydy, Sek, and Peo and at the moment they are absent from the protest,” she said.
Andreou said that the strike would continue Tuesday, and most likely for more days, but that it had not been decided yet.
On Monday, the final position of the finance ministry on the issue of low wages is expected to be announced.
According to the three main trade unions participating in pay negotiations (Pasydy, Sek and Peo), following the government’s announcement on the status of low-wage civil servants’ pay, they will convene on Tuesday to take any decisions deemed necessary.