The government is not discussing the abolition of COLA, Minister says, while the trade unions discuss possible measures

The government is not discussing the abolition of COLA, the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Kyriacos Kousios, told the Press after a meeting with the trade unions on the issue on Wednesday. After the meeting the trade unions announced that an all-union meeting has been called for Thursday to decide on whether they will proceed with measures, as it seems that there is no convergence on an agreement with the employers’ side, after the postponement of a scheduled joint meeting set to take place Thursday.

The joint meeting of the employers’ organisations and the trade unions that was scheduled for Thursday has been postponed, due to health reasons on the employers’ part, the Minister announced. He said he was making efforts to hold the meeting as soon as possible, “but I don’t expect it to be held in 2022”.

“The sides maintain their positions”, he noted, underlining that there is no discussion on abolishing COLA. “We are discussing the renewal and modification of a transitional agreement signed by the social partners in 2017. It is within this context that I am working towards a consensus. At the moment I can’t be optimistic”, he said, adding that he hoped the social partners would once again show responsibility.

Responding to a question about the government’s position, the Minister said that “the government is not in favor of abolishing COLA”, noting that the provisions of the transitional agreement, on the basis of which the discussion is taking place, “are clear” and do not provide for the abolition of COLA.

The trade unions’ representatives said that COLA should be fully restored according to the essence of the transitional agreement signed in 2017, which does not include any window for its abolition. The only discussion concerns the “when and how” of the full restoration of COLA, they noted.

The unions added that they have submitted constructive proposals to find a proper solution, but the employers’ side did not bring any proposals to bridge the gap. That is why they announced an all-union meeting for Thursday, in order to discuss possible measures and mobilisation.