THE CONCRETE-MAKING industry will halt work as of today after running out of cement due to the ongoing strike at the island’s only cement factory, concrete makers said yesterday.
Employers at Vassilikos Cement Works went on strike last Thursday over their collective agreements.
“Supply stopped on Thursday and we have been using our stock. But we have run out,” said Neoclis Kyriacou, the head of the Cyprus Association of Ready-Made Concrete Manufacturers.
“We managed to stretch our stocks,” Kyriacou said.
Cement sales fell by over 40 per cent last year in comparison to 2010.
Fewer building permits are being issued and most new projects are classified as ‘small’.
Concrete makers said that business has marked a “drastic fall” of 70 per cent from 2008, when the property market was at its peak before the bubble burst.
The employees of Vassilikos cement factory said their collective agreements were not being met. They went on indefinite strike following the introduction of cost-cutting measures, including the scrapping of wage rises.
Cement works’ “employees have seen a 12.3 per cent increase of wages over the last three years as the company saw sales fall by 40.6 per cent,” said an announcement from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), to which the concrete members’ association belongs.
KEVE said the fact employees were looking for wage rises “diametrically opposes the kind of behaviour everyone is asked to adopt at times of financial crisis”.
Over 74 per cent of the company’s 170 employees earn more than €32,500, before overtime, according to Cement Works statistics.