Cyprus: Trade unions Sek and Peo today urged Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou to step in and protect workers as the majority of hotels do not recognise collective agreements, leading to “unacceptably low levels” of wages and benefits.
The unions said that unless something is done they will take dynamic measures.
In a memo sent to Emilianidou, the two unions said hoteliers have proven to be “unreliable in their agreements and their promises”, despite the constant compromises workers make to support the country’s competitiveness in the tourism and business sectors.
“Therefore, beyond our own efforts to protect the workers and their rights, as per the collective agreements jointly signed, we call on you and your ministry to interfere decisively for the protection of workers,” the unions said in the memo.
The labour ministry, the memo said, is obliged to take specific measures for peace and normality in the sensitive tourism sector following the conditions created by the economic crisis at the expense of workers. The memo said the unions have sent several letters to the ministry about the problem but nothing has been done.
Poor working conditions and low wages, the trade unions say, are the main reasons hoteliers find it hard to find staff and end up employing people from third countries.
“We consider that, with the application of the collective agreement by all hoteliers, the necessary motivation will be given to find suitable staff among the thousands of unemployed, who reach about 10 per cent,” they said.
They also asked for pay scales to be legally established, along with the 13th month’s salary and an end to the “mockery of fixed wages as per each employer’s wishes”. The unions also want employers to be obliged to pay for provident funds after an employee has compled six months of service in the hotel industry or 18 months of continuous seasonal employment. They also called for increased penalties for violating the regulations.