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16 June, 2024
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Labour minister's intervention prompts port employees to end strike

Larnaca port workers reach agreement with management

Andreas Karamitas

The Minister of Transport's diligent efforts to resolve the crisis among employees in the Operational Department of the Port of Larnaca have evidently yielded promising results. Responding to the urgent call from Vafeades, tomorrow, Labour Minister Mr. Yiannis Panayiotou will convene with guild representatives and officials from Kition Ocean Port company, aiming to address their pressing demands.

Charalambos Avgoustis, General Secretary for Transport at the SEK, revealed to CNA, "As of around 5 this afternoon, the strike measures imposed by the workers have been lifted. Moreover, on Thursday at 11 a.m., a pivotal meeting of the guilds will be held in the presence of representatives from Kition Ocean Port, alongside Labour and Social Insurance Minister Yiannis Panayiotou."

In a statement released, Kition Ocean Port expressed dissatisfaction with the recent strike, citing it as unnecessary and lacking adherence to the prescribed procedures outlined in the Code of Industrial Relations, without any prior warning. Nonetheless, following the company's representations, the Ministry of Labour has swiftly arranged a meeting between the concerned parties, scheduled for tomorrow morning. The statement emphasized the company's respect for employees' right to strike, provided it adheres to legal procedures, cautioning against any disregard for due process, which could disrupt port operations and inflict significant economic harm.

The genesis of the employees' termination of contracts and subsequent indefinite strike stems from alleged breaches of working hour terms and concerns regarding overtime compensation. Nadia Kyritsi, General Secretary of SEGDAMELIN PEO Larnaca, reiterated to CNA that employees, with the backing of SEK and PEO guilds, demand strict adherence to the agreed-upon terms regarding working hours and overtime. Instead of utilizing internal resources, the company reportedly leans on external partners.

An agreement reached on February 9, following a prior strike by logistics workers, outlined precise procedures for working hours and overtime. According to this agreement, working hours span from 07:30 to 15:30, with written authorization mandated from department employees for any overtime requirement. However, Kyritsi pointed out that if departmental staff are unavailable, employees from other divisions within Kition Ocean Port are promptly deployed.

The unwavering support of PEO and SEK for the workers' demands underscores the gravity of the situation and the urgency for a swift and amicable resolution.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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