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Strong test for private payrolls

22/02/2016 13:50
The ongoing negotiations for the renewal of collective agreements at hotels and other sectors of the economy are a strong test for changes in private sector payrolls after Cyprus exits the adjustment program.

The outcome of mediation discussions for the renewal of the collective agreement in the hotel industry will also affect the outcome of discussions for tens of thousands of employees in construction and manufacturing.

The main objective of trade unions is for the rights of workers to return to the levels of 2012.

But business is concerned about unionists’ intentions, as they think that their claims will lead to a substantial loss of the competitiveness that came about the past few years.

Discussions regarding the hotel industry are considered crucial for the development of payrolls in hundreds of private companies that froze salaries in the last three years, following significant cuts.

The employers' side argues through OEB (Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation) that it would be a big mistake to think that the economy and especially the hotel industry is at the point where it could satisfy financial and similar demands.

The mediation effort by the minister of labour Zeta Emilianidou, examined the hoteliers’ positions last week, in response to the deadlock that occurred in negotiations for the renewal of collective agreements in hotels.

The minister’s effort to resolve the dispute was unsuccessful so far but it is possible to reach an agreement this week. The collective agreement ended on December 31, 2015 and unions want it renewed with salaries going back to their 2012-levels.

The general secretary of the workers’ confederation (SEK), Nikos Moyseos told StockWatch that negotiations are currently underway in various sectors of the economy such as beer maker KEO and cement producer Vassilico.

The general secretary of the major union of the Left, PEO, Pambis Kyritsis said that "there are two open fronts for unions and these are the renewal of collective agreements and social policy."

For the renewal of collective agreements, Mr. Kyritsis said the aim is to restore the rights that workers lost after the bail-in of 2013, when they signed special agreements.

Collective agreements including builders and hoteliers and expiring this year, involve about 42 thousand employees outside the public sector.