Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Kyriakos Koushos has set a timeframe over on agreement between the social partners (trade unions and employers associations) on a possible restoration of the Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA) by the coming Christmas.
Koushos received the social partners on Monday but no agreement was reached as both parties insisted on their own views on the issue.
“From the position of the social partners it emerged that the conditions for a consensus are not there,” Koushos said speaking to the press following the meeting, adding that he will begin separate contacts with the social partners to explore the prospects for a possible agreement until the coming Christmas.
“Until Christmas will should reach a conclusion or a deadlock and I intent to honour this timeframe,” he noted.
Responding to questions, Koushos refrained from commenting on any possible bridging proposals, stating that he will begin meetings with the social partners.
“It would be premature to say what the result would be but the timeframe will be met,” he said citing the responsibility shown by the social partners so far.
“And I believe that despite different approaches, it is clear that indeed the social partners have the responsibility and the seriousness and they both realise some necessities,” he said, noting that he will insist and try to build on their serious approach, “in order to have a conclusion, if possible.”
Trade unions demand the restoration of CoLA, that is a salary indexation according to inflation, while employers say that CoLA should be abolished altogether.
Cyprus froze CoLA during the financial crisis while a 2017 transitional agreement provided that COLA would be provided once a year provided the economy shows growth in the second and third quarters of the previous year. Under the agreement the CoLA indexation would be incorporated into basic salaries and consists of 50% of the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index. The agreement was also extended until the end of 2021. Before the 2013 crisis COLA was calculated every six months.