• +22866400
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CGTP -IN Portugal Solidarity with the Cypriot workers fighting against the high cost of living and for their rights

Solidarity with the Cypriot workers fighting against the high cost of living and
for their rights

The CGTP-IN conveys, on behalf of the Portuguese workers, its solidarity to the struggle and mobilisation of the Cypriot workers, organised in their national trade union centre - PEO - the Pancyprian Federation of Labour - on 15 October.

The demonstration you organised coincided with the ones we also organised in Portugal on the same day, with the aim of demanding higher wages, better purchasing power and the end of the blockade to collective bargaining.

We express our full solidarity with the thousands of workers who in Cyprus mobilised against the hike in the cost of living and for measures that may counter the increase of prices, for the taxation of profits, for wage increases, for decent minimum wages, for the strengthening of collective bargaining and for their rights.

We fully share your proposals and demands, we support your demand of policies that may respond to the workers’ problems, yearnings and aspirations.

We reiterate, on behalf of the CGTP-IN leadership, our firm and most fraternal solidarity with the workers nd people of Cyprus

Lisbon, 18 October 2022

CGTP-IN Executive Board

Speech by Sotiroula Charalambous, General Secretary of the General Council of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO), at the Protest and Assertion March

Brothers and Sisters,

Working people, from construction sites, hospitals, industries, semi-public organisations, buses, social protection structures, young workers who are now entering the labour market, pensioners, men and women, Cypriots and migrants all together with our mass militant presence here today are sending out a powerful message.

The message that we’ve had enough of this situation and that it cannot go on any longer.

The cost of the crises and decisions that certain forces and people are taking for us but without us cannot be paid by the working people, pensioners and the vulnerable groups of the population.

In recent years, Cyprus has led the way in the tables concerning the unequal distribution of the wealth produced, social inequalities, the deregulation of labour and in the sharp increase in cheap, unprotected labour.

In a period of continuous positive growth rates, which the DISY government boasts and celebrates as a result of its supposed wise economic policy and because they supposedly know how to handle economic affairs, the share of wages in the national income pie continues to decline, while the relationship between wages and profits is still unequal.

From 56%, the share of wages in the National Income has gone down to 46%, while earnings from profits have gone up from 45% up to 58%.

The Anastasiades-DISY decade has deprived workers of incomes totaling 7.5 billion euros.  For each year of the Anastasiades - DISY government during the period 2013-2019, workers lost 750 million euros and for the two years 2020-2021 - 950 million euros per year.

Working people, especially young people, the most vulnerable, those who are being intimidated by their employers so that they won’t organize themselves in trade unions, were awaiting the government's decisions on the minimum wage.

The government decided on a minimum wage of €855 on recruitment and €940 after six months of work with the same employer. 

This decision has caused disappointment and provoked anger among workers who feel that the government is humiliating and devaluing them.

It isn’t just the level of the minimum wage that is problematic and unsatisfactory, which is far from being dignified and in line with the current cost of living.  It is also problematic because the government continues to leave the field open for employers to extend working hours without overtime pay, without holiday pay, without paying the 13th month salary and the Cost of Living Allowance.

Working people are also angry because the government's decision is in effect backing those employers who violate sectoral collective agreements.

We are protesting and reacting because once again, as has happened many times over the last 10 years, the government's decisions support erroneous employer practices and that section of employers who base their profits on workers being employed in conditions/terms resembling the middle ages.

We protest and react because the government is leaving society unprotected.  Last year, when we said that that there are price hikes and that the government must take prompt measures to protect working people and the weak, the government replied that we were exaggerating and that the phenomenon of price hikes was a temporary phenomenon.

A 30% increase has been recorded compared to August 2021 in housing, water, electricity, with a 30% increase in LPG, a 19% increase in bread and a 12% increase in milk.

More than a year later, with inflation galloping and breaking records and nibbling away at 1/10th of working people’s income, we are now being told to be patient, be a wise consumer and save and turn off our lights.

The decline in working people’s incomes this year, when workers are facing an unprecedented crisis of austerity, is expected to exceed 1.5 billion euros.

We are being told that the government has allocated many millions to deal with the phenomenon of price hikes.

Unfortunately for the government, however, the figures do not substantiate their claims.

Cyprus is fourth from the bottom across the EU in the table as regards expenditure to address poverty and the energy crisis.

It is estimated that as a result of the increased VAT revenues from the ongoing price increases, the government will have collected an additional 1 billion in revenues by the end of 2022.

There is the possibility of meaningful measures being taken to support society.  We have proposed specific measures many times. 

  • Reduce VAT on essential goods and the price of electricity, abolish double taxation on fuel, impose a tax on windfall profits:
  • Support society, especially those on social benefits, with an increase in benefits and not by issuing charity cheques that aren’t enough to pay for a week's shopping.
  • Use the additional windfall incomes to subsidise the cost of housing for students and young couples kneeling under high rents. Elaboration and creation of social housing schemes.

By refusing to adopt these measures, the government is in effect choosing once again to stand against society, against the many.  It is opting to behave as a usurer and protector of those who, because of the energy crisis, are seeking to maximise their profits to unprecedented levels.

The current context of the inflation crisis brings the need for the full restoration of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) even more strongly and urgently to the fore.

The transitional agreement reached between employers, trade unions and government on how to pay the COLA expired at the end of 2021.  The discussion for a new agreement has not yet began.  Before the dialogue started, the Finance Minister of the DISY government was quick to take a position by declaring that the arrangement that workers get half of the COLA should continue.

Over the last few days new “imaginative” ideas have been heard.  Under the pretext of the argument that not all workers receive COLA, DISY President A.Neofytou is making meaningless proposals, while we haven’t understood what the other like-minded presidential candidate [Nikos Christodoulides] wants to say on the issue.

The full restoration of the COLA and its extension to cover all working people is the only tangible tool to protect workers and their families from the decline in their incomes due to the mounting price increases.

If the concern and worry is about workers not getting COLA, there are ways this can be addressed.

The Cost of Living Allowance should be fully restored and be included as an element of Automatic Minimum Wage Adjustment, with the introduction of legislation that should oblige all employers in industries and sectors that have contracts to apply them to all workers.  Unambiguous and straightforward answers to these issues are needed.

Brothers and Sisters,

Today's mobilisation is an expression of working people’s growing anger and indignation, but it also conveys a message of determination and assertion.

We do not stand idly by, nor do we consider working people’s collective militant response as some ‘unnecessary fuss’.  Today we are sending out a powerful message that we will not tolerate the continuation of one-sided anti-worker policies.

  • We demand dignified wages with rights.
  • We demand the approval of legislative measures to make the basic terms of Collective Labour Agreements binding for all.
  • Full restoration of the Cost of Living Allowance and its extension to cover all working people.
  • Adequate measures to protect society from price hikes.

At every podium, with every means at our disposal, we will in a collective and organised manner assert what we are entitled to!

Joint statement by PEO, DEV-IS, KTAMS, KTOS, KTOEOS, BES, DAU-SEN, KOOP-SEN Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot unions affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions WFTU

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has established October 3, the date of its foundation, as the International Action Day of working people.

This year's Action Day is dedicated to the struggles for wage and pension increases, to defend collective agreements and trade union freedoms and rights, against imperialist wars, racism and xenophobia.

At a time when the pandemic and capitalist crisis have widened social inequalities and poverty, imperialist wars and interventions are inflicting even greater consequences and suffering on the peoples and workers. They cause death and destruction, the displacement of millions of people, the deterioration of their living and working conditions.

Developments in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, the increased military expenditures, ongoing wars and tensions in many parts of our world with the main goal of controlling natural resources and energy sources are leading humanity into a generalised conflict and putting world peace at risk.

Cypriot working people, who for almost fifty years have been experiencing the results of the imperialist designs of NATO and its allies, demand an immediate end to the war in Ukraine and the finding of a peaceful solution on the basis of international law.

The class-based trade union movement of Cyprus stands against wars and imperialist interventions and joins the working people throughout the whole world in the struggle for the defence of peace, for the dismantling of NATO and all military coalitions. 

The ongoing war in Ukraine is further deepening the global capitalist crisis and working people are experiencing the economic consequences of the rampant increase in the prices of essential necessities and high rates of inflation which are mercilessly undermining their living standards.  Wages and labour rights are in many cases being reduced and curtailed, while democratic and trade union freedoms are facing new attacks and restrictions. 

In our country, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers are experiencing the consequences of neoliberal policies, the deregulation of labour relations, the imposition of anti-labour laws and violations of rights, price hikes and inflation, which are deteriorating working people’s lives even more.

The common problems highlight even more the common class interests of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers and the need to intensify the struggles and solidarity between them.

In the current harsh economic and social conditions, the solution of the Cyprus problem remains a priority and an urgent need since no gain achieved by working people can be permanent and stable as long as our homeland remains divided.

The class-based trade union movement in Cyprus, despite the difficulties, will not compromise with partition. Our unwavering goal is the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, for a single state, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, and with political equality of the two communities as described in relevant United Nations resolutions.

The affiliated organisations of the WFTU in Cyprus PEO, DEV-IS, KTAMS, KTOS, KTOEOS, BES, DAU-SEN, KOOP-SEN on the basis of the principles of solidarity and internationalism participate in the October 3 mobilisations organised by working people all over the world and in the struggle against deregulation and for dignified work with rights, for increases in wages and pensions and for the creation of a better society without wars and interventions.

HOPE AND PERSPECTIVE LIE IN THE STRENGTH OF OUR ORGANISED STRUGGLE

 
 

DECISION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PANCYPRIAN CONGRESS OF THE PANCYPRIAN FEDERATION OF LABOUR (PEO)

DECISION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PANCYPRIAN CONGRESS OF THE PANCYPRIAN FEDERATION OF LABOUR (PEO)

7 SEPTEMBER 2022, NICOSIA

The Extraordinary Pancyprian Congress of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) convened on Wednesday, 7 September 2022, to examine the issues that arise for working people following the government's decision and decree on the minimum wage. After briefing Congress delegates with the submission of the introductory speech by the General Secretary of PEO, after a thorough discussion between delegates, Congress decided the following:

1. To approve the handling of the above issue made by the competent leadership bodies of PEO in the preceding period, as well as the introductory speech to Congress delivered by the General Secretary of PEO, Sotiroula Charalambous.

2. The 27th and 28th Congress of PEO, after analyzing the dramatic changes that occurred in the socio-economic model of Cyprus as a result of the financial crisis and the extreme neoliberal policies pursued by the government and the subsequent effects of the health crisis on working people, concluded that these policies led also to the reversal of the system of labour relations which was based on the high trade union density and organization through which the regulation of basic terms of employment were imposed with Collective Agreements.

With the aim of restoring a minimum social balance, we demanded the State’s intervention with the implementation of measures and regulations to put a stop to the phenomena of deregulation and cheap labour without basic labour rights. 

More specifically, we demanded the following: The introduction of institutional measures to ensure the obligation to implement the basic terms of sectoral Collective Labour Agreements for all working people in the sectors covered by Collective Labour Agreements.  The introduction of statutory minimum rights - salary, fixed working hours, overtime pay, holidays, the 13th month salary, indexation - for those working people not covered by Collective Labour Agreements. 

We set these objectives in a very clear and specific manner before the Ministry of Labour when the government, after the pressure exerted by the trade union movement, initiated the discussion surrounding the minimum wage.

3. Congress concludes that the government, by its decisions, fully adopting the employers' positions, has approved a decree on the minimum wage which far from creates a basic framework of elementary rights for those working people not protected by trade union organisations.

4. Congress reiterates that under no circumstances will it consent to the legitimisation of the phenomena of unregulated working hours, the extension of working hours without overtime pay and the possibility of the questioning of the high-level agreement reached between employers' and workers' organisations in 1992 for the reduction of working hours from 40 to 38 hours per week in all key sectors of the economy. Congress strongly denounces the challenge of that agreement by employers, once again with the connivance of the government. 

5. The regulation of key issues such as holidays, the 13th month salary and indexation is also absent from the decree, which leaves the most vulnerable working people unprotected.

6. Congress reiterates its opposition to the non-inclusion in the minimum wage of large sections of working people who are particularly vulnerable.  It also expresses its grave concern about the possibility given to employers of a 25% lower minimum wage for young people under 18 for up to 2 months' work because it will be used by employers to perpetuate the recycling of cheap casual employment.

7. Regarding the level of the minimum wage itself, it is confirmed by the reactions of working people and society that it cannot meet the current cost of living needs and the notion of dignified living. The monthly increase of around EUR 15 per month, after 11 years, bearing in mind the constant price increases and galloping inflation of around 10%, is a provocation and a depreciation for working people. 

8. By refusing to clearly regulate in the decree that where and when there are minimum wages agreed by Collective Labour Agreements these will be the legal, compulsory wages, the government contributes to and legitimises the perpetuation of the phenomena of refusing to implement Collective Agreements, especially sectoral Collective Agreements. In essence, the government becomes complicit in violations and in the existence of two-speed workers and unfair competition between companies within the same branch and sector.

9. In view of the above negative findings, Congress decides to intensify the struggles in order to achieve the objectives set by the 28th Congress of PEO.

  • It calls on the PEO affiliated trade unions to intensify their efforts for the introduction of institutional regulations that will make basic conditions compulsory for all workers in a given sector during the procedure for the renewal of the sectoral Collective Agreements.
  • It calls on the PEO affiliated trade unions to react immediately and vigorously, in sectors or workplaces that are covered by Collective Labour Agreements and where wages are higher than the minimum wage, in those cases where attempts are being made to hire workers on the minimum wage.
  • In the immediate period ahead, a nationwide campaign to inform working people in both organised and unorganised workplaces will be carried out.

10. Congress addresses an appeal to all working people, both organised and unorganised, as well as to the rest of the trade union movement, to unite their forces in the struggle for comprehensive regulations that will guarantee minimum rights to all working people and for the protection and strengthening of Collective Labour Agreements.

11. Congress, having assessed the facts as they have evolved since the government's decision on the minimum wage, the tremendous pressure working people are coming under as a result of the ongoing and intensifying wave of price hikes in basic consumer goods, electricity and fuel, reaffirms and underlines the demand for substantive measures to protect working people, fully restore the Automatic Cost of Living Allowance and its application for all workers. 

To this end, Congress authorized the Executive Council of PEO to proceed with the organisation of a Pancyprian worker’s' mobilization.  Contacts will be made with the rest of the trade union movement in the period ahead with the aim of ensuring a united and collective response on the part of working people. 

PEO Cyprus solidarity message with trade unionist Cliff Smith and the Roofers Local 36 union in Los Angeles

PEO Cyprus solidarity message with trade unionist Cliff Smith and the Roofers Local 36 union in Los Angeles.

The Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) Cyprus expresses its solidarity with the Roofers Local Trade Union 36 in Los Angeles, USA and the trade unionist Cliff Smith and condemns the brutal blackmail and threats by the AFL-CIO against them as well as the demand to leave the lines of the World Trade Union Federation.

Is the government supporting or undermining the Cyprus Electricity Authority?

Is the government supporting or undermining the Cyprus Electricity Authority?
Article by Nikos Gregoriou – General Secretary of SIDIKEK- PEO.
Sunday 26 June 2022, ‘Haravgi’ newspaper


The recent letters of response from the relevant Ministers of Finance and Energy to the trade unions organised in AHK raise serious questions as to the government's current policies and objectives on energy issues.
The first and unavoidable question that arises when government Ministers make such highly contradictory and paradoxical criticisms of AHK is this: whose policies have been implemented on energy issues for the past 9½ years? Isn't the government responsible for ensuring that there is a comprehensive and coherent energy strategy and therefore be politically accountable for it?

Address by Christos Tombazos - PEO at the Congress of KTOS

Address by Christos Tombazos, Central Organisational Secretary of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) at the Congress of KTOS Turkish Cypriot Teachers trade union
20 May 2022, Nicosia


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On behalf of the General Council of PEO I convey to your Congress the militant and fraternal greetings of the tens of thousands of members of our Federation.

New General Secretary of the WFTU, Pambis Kyritsis

Statement by the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) on the election of Pambis Kyritsis as the new General Secretary of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
Sunday 8 May 2022


The 18th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) concluded its deliberations today, 8 May, in Rome, with the election of its new leadership bodies.

History written in blood cannot be falsified

History written in blood cannot be falsified
By Mari-Constance Constantinou, Head of the Historical Labour Museum and Historical Archive of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO)
May 2022

Interview with the General Secretary of PEO Sotiroulla Charalambous

Interview with the General Secretary of PEO (Pancyprian Federation of Labour) Sotiroulla Charalambous:
Through our organisation and unity we can take the workers forward
Sunday 1 May 2022, “HARAVGI” newspaper
QUESTION: The pandemic is, we hope, coming to an end. How would you summarize PEO’s activity during this period?