CYPRUS: Public sector contract staff to stage work stoppages

Some 2,800 civil servants, members of the newly founded Equality union (Isotita) are to stage two-hour work stoppages on three consecutive days at 10 am from May 8 over unfair treatment.

The work stoppages will affect the operation of the Citizen Service Centres, which will close from 10 to midday during the two-hour strike action.

The industrial action is also expected to affect the office of the Registrar of Companies and the Official Receiver, while some staff will be walking out at the Finance Ministry.

Members of the union, mainly contract staff, are protesting over inequality in the way they are treated by the government. The union claims that the state is in violation of an EU directive which instructs member states to treat contract staff equally with permanent staff.

Union chief Prodromos Christofi told the Financial Mirror that they are calling on the government to respect the 1999/70/?P directive, claiming that contract staff are discriminated against as they are not rewarded equally as fellow colleagues who are permanent staff.

Contract staff are evaluated only on four criteria with a maximum score of very satisfactory, whereas permanent staff are evaluated on 8 criteria with a maximum score of ‘excellent’. This means that contract staff are not eligible for any promotions, said Christofi.

He also noted that the same directive does not allow member states to hire contract staff where there is a permanent need, noting that he has been a contract civil servant for the past 15 years at the same position.

Christofi said that authorities are not taking complaints from his union seriously, while taking retributive action against those who come forward to complain.

He said the union is calling for the government to come to the discussion table as it has so far refused to consult with them despite several memos and letters sent.

Source: The Financial Mirror