CONSTRUCTION workers decided on Thursday to continue their strike indefinitely, while the union patrols became embroiled in a fight in Paphos when a contractor tried to recruit strike-breakers to continue works on a hotel renovation site.
Dozens of unemployed construction workers arrived on the renovation site to protest, while a patrol force by unions SEK, PEO and DEOK were also in place.
But when the jobless construction workers tried to enter the premises, they were prevented by a private security force recruited by the contractor and the hotel management.
There were also strike-breakers in Limassol, SEK’s Yiannakis Ioannou said.
PEO and DEOK said the strike-breakers worked under sub-par conditions compared to the collective agreements, the terms of employment that Cypriot workers agree with their bosses.
Employers “take advantage of thousands of cheap labour hands, trying to set the organised labour movement and the workers back dozens of years,” an announcement by PEO said.
“The real culprits for the sector’s problems and specifically the large unemployment problem are a large part of contractors who fire our peers every day… replacing them with cheap labour force,” the announcement said.
The number of EU workers – now about 10,000 – has not risen over the past few years but at least 6,000 construction workers are now unemployed with limited employment prospects in a sector that was one of the first to enter into recession and is still struggling.