Workers were awaiting developments at the Larnaca port on Tuesday after the government had on Monday torn up its contract with Kition Ocean Holdings for the port’s renovation.

Trade union Omepegie-Sek secretary-general Charalambous Avgousti said he had asked transport and labour ministers Alexis Vafeades and Yiannis Panayiotou to “show concern” for the workers so they did not become “victims” of the developments.

 “With yesterday’s developments, workers are certainly now thinking about their futures,” he said.

He added that Panayiotou had offered assurances on Monday that both he and Vafeades would ensure those working at the port would have their jobs safeguarded when a new contractor takes the reins of the port.

“Our intention is for the port to remain open, serving ships, both commercial and those included under the Amalthea humanitarian aid corridor,” Avgousti added.

With this in mind, he said a meeting will be held on Thursday morning between Panayiotou, Vafeades and trade union leaders, “so we can be informed about how the port will continue to operate”.

He also expressed his hope that the current port workers would continue to be employed there in the future, saying they are the “most suitable people for the jobs”, since they have been working there for the past three years.

“They are necessary for the port’s smooth operations,” he added.

Additionally, while not going as far as to criticise the port’s privatisation, which took place during Nicos Anastasiades’ second term as president, he said “surely there must be some control by the state, since the ports are strategic points of entry into the country.”

Fellow trade union leader Nadia Kyritsi of Segdamelin-Peo said her members are carrying on their work, but hoping the relevant ministries will take action in the coming days.

“The workers are in their positions, the workers at the port are carrying out their own work and the rest are waiting for developments,” she said.

She added that work at the port is carrying on “as normal”.

“What exists is normality in anticipation and determination that what the workers are entitled to, namely the collective agreement and good working conditions, will be demanded by their trade unions,” she said.

She also went further than Avgousti on the matter of privatisation, saying, “Peo’s permanent position is that the ports are a public good and must be under the state’s management.”

“Of course, the economy and workers have much more to gain from a public operation than a private one,” she added.