Consultations are due to restart next week on reinstatement of the cost-of-living allowance (CoLA), Sek union general secretary Andreas Matsas said on Monday.
Matsas told CyBC that the fact that new Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou had referred to CoLA as one of the government’s top priorities, was cause for optimism.
The labour minister, meanwhile, had clarified last week that the state’s finances did not permit immediate and full reinstatement of the institution.
Nonetheless, he said he had made overtures with social partners and would discuss all approaches, aiming to secure peace in labour relations.
Christodoulides’ government inherited the hot potato of CoLA from previous minister Kyriacos Koushios whose last attempt to address the matter had been to file an interim proposal to satisfy all parties.
Matsas told CyBC the unions are aiming to hammer out a three-year plan envisioning the gradual reinstatement of CoLA over this time.
CoLA was a prerequisite for settling other disputes, Matsas said, namely that of licensing of third country workers, another of the outgoing minister’s final acts, which the unions believe was wrongheaded.
Panayiotou has said that it is not possible to recall the licensing decision, however, there are areas where it can be improved.
Matsas, for his part, said that as it stands, the agreement violates EU directives for collective agreements of workers and labour rights.