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Vasilikon cement factory workers on indefinite strike

Employees of the Vassilikos Cement Public Company in Limassol have vowed to continue indefinite strike action blaming their employers for violating their collective wage agreement.

EMPLOYEES at the Vasilikon cement factory in Limassol have promised to continue strike action indefinitely until the owners implement the terms of their collective wage agreement.

During a meeting of employees, union representatives appealed to the workers to accept the mediating proposal put forward by the Labour Ministry.

The strike action follows a 24 hour warning strike on 7th February. Employees say that the company is continuing to act unilaterally and is violating their collective agreement.

The employers and industrialists’ federation (OEV) expressed their disappointment on the workers’ decision and called on unions to consider the consequences of their actions on the cement factory as well as the Cyprus construction industry, which is facing a major crisis.

Cement sales in January 2012 fell by 33.4 percent compared with January 2011, while during the whole of 2011 cement sales fell by 40.6 percent compared with 2010.

The company has said that despite repeated calls to the unions for over a year to negotiate an agreement they had shunned all approaches.

(Although workers wages have been frozen at 2011 levels, their Cost of Living Allowance (CoLA) for 2012 has been handed out normally. In 2011, their wages were increased by 3.4 percent.)

Readers' comments

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  • Mark says:

    What a marvellous opportunity the unions and workers provide here to the factory owners, who realise to their discomfort that their investment is threatened existentially. If the workers refuse to work, let this be the premise to bid them goodbye. When workers say ‘show me the money’, the employers in these circumstances might well feel it appropriate to respond in kind. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Your fired!

  • Hilda Nixon says:

    Ah the “joys” of EU membership!!!

  • Mike says:

    I think Jim has summed it up admirably. Cyprus labour forces are being forced to face the reality of the modern world without the benefit of boundless EU subsidies utilised for everything other than that intended.

    However saying that if the workers had a collective agreement with the company then it must be honoured. The law permits the redundancy of workers if retaining them places the company at risk, at least in UK it does, I assume Cyprus has adopted that part of EU legislation but negotiation must be the way forward.

  • Peter says:

    When too many cars had piled up at British Leyland the management would prompt a strike, usually by sacking a worker over a trivial incident. Then when the backlog had been shifted management would speak with the union and re-instate the worker.

    In the meantime the union had paid the strikers their wages, the cost of materials had been saved along with the cost of building and storing more unwanted cars that they couldn’t sell.

    Here the company aren’t paying wages with a 3.4% pay rise in CoLA and are not producing cement that no one wants.

  • Jim says:

    It may be a shock to the system, but workers in Cyprus are going to find out the hard way, that jobs & guaranteed wages are a thing of the past. Up until now, they have led a fairly sheltered life.

    Welcome to the real world.

  • Sheik yr Mami says:

    Management should be happy with this – no work, no pay in falling sales is a saving. Then violate the wage agreement further – what about a 3 day week! Cypriots must get real in these austere times, and it ain’t gonna get better soon!

  • Ian says:

    No concrete foundation for progress then just like those in power, shingle, sand and cement but without water to to get anything to set.

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