Unions representing workers at the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) said on Monday their members will hold a vote at the end of the month on possible industrial action, including strikes.

Sotos Savva, head of the Sepaik trade union, said the vote – by secret ballot – will take place on January 31.

The four main EAC syndicates will hold local gatherings across several venues on that day, with union cadres briefing workers on the state of play in terms of their demands and EAC management’s response. The vote will take place after the discussion.

“The members will authorise the leaderships of the unions on how to further handle the matter, not excluding strike measures,” Savva said.

The union boss outlined four major issues of concern to EAC employees. First, understaffing at various departments. Secondly, the upgrading of the power plant at Dhekelia. Thirdly, the scope of the EAC’s involvement in solar parks. Fourthly, a bill under discussion in parliament that would allow private companies to inspect and certify electrical installations – until now the domain of the EAC.

According to Savva, the first large solar park operated by the EAC at Akrotiri and which recently came online, generates electricity at just 5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“Compare this to the fact that over the few last years the private sector’s production in solar parks has doubled, but with no drop in the price of electricity, and you can understand how people could benefit were the EAC allowed to become more involved in renewables, especially in large solar parks,” Savva told the Cyprus News Agency.

The union cadre also commented on legislation that would see private-sector inspectors certify electrical installations.

Savva said the EAC has carried out these inspections for the past 60 years, and at no extra cost for consumers – the service is provided free of charge.

But once the private sector gets involved, they’d charge a fee for the service.