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Construction workers strike may spread

Striking construction workers received support from trade unions representing more than three quarters of workers who may call members out on a general strike if their dispute is not settled soon.

CYPRUS’ two largest trade unions representing over three quarters of workers have given warning of a possible general work stoppage in support of construction workers, now in their fifth day of an indefinite strike.

A meeting of union and employers’ officials with Labour Minister Sotiroula Charalambous failed to resolve the construction workers’ strike. Mrs Charalambous said after the meeting that the leaders of the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation (SEK) and the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) trade unions have left open the possibility of an island-wide general strike if the construction sector dispute is not resolved soon.

Construction workers laid down their tools on Monday demanding that only qualified workers bearing a special card be employed by construction contractors.

Left-wing PEO leader Bambis Kyritsis said that his union has already decided on a general strike in support of construction workers, while the right-wing SEK Workers Confederation was to reach a decision later in the day.

Readers' comments

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  • ron richardson says:

    It appears that the only way to resolve the Cyprus property deeds issue is for it to go to the European courts. And if the courts say its OK to sell a house. Get paid for it and still own it. Then that’s the end of selling property in Cyprus for ever. And the end of Cyprus. So bring it on. And lets get it sorted.

  • Keith says:

    Will anyone notice or care that the construction workers are on strike? Cheap labour will increase now.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    I’m sure these cards will be produced transparently in all qualifying EU languages, (yeah right!), and will be openly and easily available to anyone without excessive and over complicated application procedures or discrimination of any kind, (yeah right!).

    There will be no scowling public officials who will send you backwards and forwards to get the original version of that ‘other document’ you didn’t know that you needed and no lesser spotted brown envelopes will be involved in the distribution of these cards at all. (yeah right!)

    It seems that competition is good as long as only one side is winning.

  • steve says:

    In the UK they run a CSCS card scheme. It is mainly centred around health and safety but also carries your specific skill (plumber, electrician, joiner) you must produce your qualification certificate when applying for these cards.

    If you are not qualified in any field then you are classed as a site labourer but you still have to sit a health and safety test. This is backed by the HSE and most big construction companies now use this system. Smaller companies seem to turn a blind eye but run the risk of big fines if something goes wrong on site (accident or fatality). This scheme applies to all nationalities. It started a good few years ago but is picking up speed as we enter into a claims society and people become more aware.

    Similar schemes are run for electricians NICEIC and people working with gas GAS SAFE but nothing like this is in place in Cyprus. It will take many years for construction workers in Cyprus to come in line with the EU but as with many things, start with the big companies and work down.

  • Gavin Jones says:

    Well go on, then. Stop ‘threatening’, have an all-out strike and finish the job off. The government and banks have done a pretty good job so far; another push should just about do it.

    What is it in this country with unemployment rising, people in desperate straits, electricity and other bills sky-high, inter-communal stalemate and all the rest? Cometh the hour, cometh the man to pull this round? I wish I could see him.

  • Steve says:

    I would be interested to know who will be giving these cards out and what qualifications will be necessary to get one. My gut feeling tells me this will be a card for Cypriot nationals only and that will be the “qualification.” Unless there is some sort of degree course for building workers, how would someone obtain work qualifications to obtain a card? – a chicken and egg situation.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    Just what we need, a strike in a bankrupt country.

    Shades of Reg Varney in the farce ‘On the Buses’!

    I hate you Butler!

  • andyp says:

    Anyone know who is entitled to the “special” card ?

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