Employment in a reunified Cyprus discussed at Unions’ conference

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot trade unions discussed on Thursday about employment policies and employment protection in the envisaged unified Cyprus.

The speakers at the conference, organised by the All Cyprus Trade Unions Forum, called for decent working conditions and the development of a new economic model for the reunified Cyprus.

Secretary General of the Greek Cypriot trade union DEOK, Diomidis Diomidous, said that in a reunified Cyprus the right to work should be fully protected throughout its territory and that everyone should enjoy full protection of their labour rights and social security.

We look forward to a united Cyprus with quality jobs and decent work for all the citizens, he said.

Presenting the suggestions of the trade unions, PEO representative Nicos Gregoriou, noted that there should be a new economic model based on growth through investments, that will be linked to the creation of new, decent and regulated job positions.

He also stressed that the state budget as well as funds from abroad should be utilized to create jobs.

Gregoriou noted that the focus should be on sectors which are currently not well developed, such as research and innovation, health, environment and renewable energy and education. He said that tourism industry has prospects to expand further after a solution of the Cyprus problem and that the outcome should be distributed fairly across society.

He also noted that Cyprus could benefit through a timely and proper planning of the employment needs of the energy sector and that there should be agreements with the companies and collective contracts on the working conditions for the employees.

Ercan Birer from the Turkish Cypriot union TÜRK-SEN, noted that in the public and the private sector employees should be chosen on merit. He also stressed that there should be criteria for the hiring of foreigners by local businesses.

Professor of Economics at Pantion University of Athens Apostolos Dedousopoulos suggested the implementation of active labour market policies just after the solution. These can be a starting point for creating a coherent and functional employment policy, he explained. He said that the two communities and the trade unions must then work together to draft a plan within a relatively short time-frame, which will analyze the state of affairs in the two communities, will identify priorities and necessary actions and reforms to be done in a certain period of time.