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Benefits and problems from the EU membership.

EU: Instrument of capitalism or modernisation?

Instrument of capitalism - is damaging workers' rights
No votes
Opportunity for modernising the outdated practices in the Cyprus economy
Total votes : 4


Postby cannedmoose » Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:54 am

If you'll excuse the pun, it strikes me that more and more workers disputes in Cyprus are being blamed on EU legislation. We've had the dock workers on strike, farmers, truck drivers etc etc. In the paper today, it looks like the truckers are going on strike yet again. From the little I know about worker-employee relations in Cyprus, there's been a relatively harmonious relationship for many years, with employers and unions negotiating effectively to secure the best deal for both. With the EU now having such a large influence on domestic industrial relations, for example with the questioning of the COLA arrangement and enforcement of legislation affecting the traditional system of worker-employee negotiations, are we beginning to see the breakdown of this relationship, with, as AKEL has been warning for years, membership of the EU tipping the balance away from workers and towards the interests of capital?


Truck drivers set to strike
By Stefanos Evripidou
TRUCK DRIVERS will strike tomorrow across the island, threatening to bring the economy to its knees.

The association of truck drivers holding ‘A’ category licences met last night in Choirokitia to discuss the response to the government’s latest proposals. The result was bleak as the newly formed association’s president, Loukas Demetriou, announced that the decision had been taken to go ahead with the indefinite strike, starting tomorrow.

Around 5,000 truckers will park their heavy vehicles outside every port, mine, cement factory and construction site on the island in protest at the government’s lack of action.

Demetriou said the association had a problem with the fact that ‘B’ category licences were not being revoked, allowing the holders to “steal” the jobs of ‘A’ licence holders, when they should only be working privately.

He added that truckers were not happy with the fares system since it didn’t take into account the recent hikes in fuel prices.

A meeting between Communications Minister Haris Thrasou and the truckers yesterday afternoon failed to end the uncertainty, as the two sides came out on opposite sides of the fence.

Thrasou said 90 per cent of the truckers’ demands had been met in the meeting. He warned if they went ahead with a strike tomorrow, then everything that had been agreed in the meeting would be put in the deep freeze.

Demetriou warned after the meeting that truckers were prepared to strike in protest at the failure to implement legislation passed two months ago. The truckers also had problems getting their new licences.

He rubbished the minister’s assertion that the truckers got almost everything they asked for.

“We hear these nice rounded words all the time, and we heard them today. We didn’t hear anything on ‘B’ category licences issued since January, if they will be revoked or what. We will discuss it again (today) and continue to do so until the morning (tomorrow) to find solutions,” said Demetriou.

Asked if he had heard enough to call off the strike, he replied: “It is up to the district committee meetings to decide if we are satisfied or not. I can’t call off the strike.”

The minister’s response was somewhat different: “Mr Loucas got 90 per cent of what he asked for. If they go ahead with strikes, we will freeze everything agreed on today.
“At the same time, we agreed to amend the law where necessary, and will communicate with the House Transport Committee to make sure this happens as soon as possible,” added Thrasou.
On the claim that the government was not subsidising the cost of EU harmonisation, Thrasou said: “Show me one person who made the changes, came to us asking for financial assistance and we didn’t give it. They have to make the necessary changes, and those who apply will get the subsidy they are due.”

Meanwhile, POVEK official Kyriacos Moustakas put some distance between the union and the newly formed truckers’ association.

Moustakas said the union supported the demands for subsidies on the cost of harmonising with EU laws, like installing tachographs, but never agreed to announce strike measures. He said the union was most concerned with the delay in circulating professional licences.

The truckers last threatened to strike in April, just days before the new legislation was passed through parliament. They previously brought the economy to a standstill in October 2003 by using their vehicles to block access to the ports for days, crippling all sectors of the economy. A short-lived strike at the ports and outside the Presidential Palace last December threatened a repeat of 2003 before it was cut short.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2005
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Postby Piratis » Tue Jul 12, 2005 10:55 pm

I would vote "both" if this option existed.

EU clearly promotes capitalism. In Europe even most of the so called socialist parties have very little to do with socialism now.

On the other hand, EU can be a good excuse to modernize some things, but it should be done in the right way. Workers in the governmental and semi-governmental sectors should be required to keep certain productivity levels to keep their jobs, and the government should have the mechanism needed to move people from one sector to another if this is required.
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