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25 September, 2023
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Labor unrest in the midst of an election - today's strike

Measures could be escalated if necessary.

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

Despite the unions' categorical assurances that the strike on Thursday has nothing to do with the current election period, the three-hour strike measures will de facto be 'butter' on the election agenda of candidates who do not come from the government sector. The strike on Thursday can also be seen as the culmination of recent labor unrest in other areas such as the public utility company and the health sector. Trade unions and workers emphasized that the strike measures were decided in the face of serious problems and without regard for timing. However, Thursday's strike actions may not be a one-time occurrence and may be repeated next week.  A possibility that was raised by the secretary general of the FCC, Andreas Matsas, speaking on the SPOR FM 95 news program "News Dispersion". 

The government has made it clear, through Labour Minister Kyriakos Kousios, that since the ATA talks have stalled, the timeframe for the government to resolve the entire issue is short, and that the entire issue will be given as a 'dowry' to the new government that will emerge from the February presidential elections. However, the ATA issue may not be the only one that the current government must deal with in the remaining time. Following the mobilizations in the OKYPY hospitals, the situation in the health sector remains tense. The failure of trade unions and the OKYPY to reach a collective bargaining agreement has kept the atmosphere tense.  Everything will be clear on January 31st, when the third meeting is scheduled. If the efforts fail, it is expected that the OKYPY hospital workers will be back on the job. The Electricity Authority also has an open front. The warning work stoppages should not be considered successful. The AEC unions remain on high alert as the dispute with the Ministry of Energy continues.

The effects of the strike

Before the measures begin at 12 p.m., the footprint of Thursday's pan-strike, the first of this magnitude in a long time, will be visible until 3 pm when activities will stop temporarily.  The OKYPU hospitals will use security personnel in the health sector. The appointments scheduled between 12 and 3 p.m. have been canceled in accordance with the arrangements made. Those affected will have to reschedule their appointments.

School busses

The Department of Education has announced special arrangements for the safe transportation of students to their homes prior to the start of the strike action. According to the Ministry of Transport's decisions, student transportation will be provided by buses, which will arrive at the schools at 11:30 to complete the routes. No routes will be carried out after the strike begins and until it ends. Optional and Single Day schools, as well as community nursery schools, have been established.

Roads will be closed

Nicosia will be the most affected by the three-hour strike measures because they will be centered on the capital. Traffic on the roads, particularly in the city center, is expected to be disrupted as a result of the union rallies. The closure of major roads has been officially announced for three hours. The measures are expected to have an impact on traffic on the Grivas Digenis, Demosthenes Severis, Grigoris Afxentiou, Evagoros, Michalakis Karoli, and Lord Byronos avenues, as well as adjacent streets.

Airports are affected

The two airports' managing companies have announced that the three-hour strike will affect 22 flights, arrivals and departures at Larnaca and Paphos airports. During the strike, 9 arrivals and 7 departures were scheduled at Larnaca Airport, while 3 arrivals and 3 departures were scheduled at Paphos Airport. The affected flights will be rescheduled, and a total of 4,000 passengers are expected to be affected.

The strike

The gathering of strikers at the Ministry of Finance will be the focal point of the events beginning at 12 p.m. The demonstrators will then march to the Ministry of Labour, Welfare, and Social Insurance, where they will hold a rally, via Grigori Afxentiou Avenue, Kostis Palamas Street, and Lord Vyronos Avenue. The unions are calling for an agreement with the employers on the issue of ATA, as well as the termination of the 2017 transitional agreement, which provided for 50% ATA payment. 

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  elections  |  strike

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