/ Unrest brewing over CoLA
INDUSTRIAL unrest seems to be brewing after the decision by Minister of
Labour and Social Insurance Andreas Moushiouttas that increases in indirect
taxes, except for VAT, would not be included in the calculation of the Cost
of Living Allowance which is incorporated in wages every six months.
_ said that a "difficult winter" was in store for industrial relations, as
a result of the decision. Moushiouttas' announcement, apart from not
satisfying employers' groups, provoked a "very strong reaction" from Peo,
the communist party Akel-controlled trade union federation. The right wing
union federation Sek and public servants union Pasydy agreed with the
Peo had warned that it would call on workers defend "the holy right of
CoLA". Employers, on the other hand, have said they want other benefits to
counter-balance the burden of CoLA.
Haravghi, the Akel mouthpiece, accused the
government of trying to "mutilate CoLA" and said that Peo would be taking
dynamic action -- all affiliated unions were expected to hold general
assemblies yesterday in order to discuss the matter. Peo's line on the
government decision was that "any modification to CoLA towards the less
favourable is a step towards its mutilation".
It quoted the Peo general secretary Pambis Kyritsis as saying that the
removal of consumer taxes from the calculation of CoLA, although not
significant, would still affect standards of living. He called on the
workers to fight the government move.
_ said industrial unrest was possible and blamed Peo's reaction to its
opposition to the government. It said that during negotiations with the
Minister of Labour, Peo, in line with the other unions, had given the
impression that it would not oppose the removal of consumer taxes from CoLA
calculations. Wednesday's reaction caused surprise, the paper said,
claiming that Peo wanted to destroy the government's deal with the other
_ reported that the Cyprus Stock Exchange was unlikely to reopen on Monday,
after the three-week closure to help brokerages and companies clear their
backlog of paperwork. Despite "exhaustive efforts", there was no way the
backlog would be cleared and all title deeds issued by Monday. As a result,
the Stock Exchange council is under pressure to delay the reopening.
It would be humanly impossible for public companies to issue title deeds by
Monday as most transaction documents only arrived at their offices on
Wednesday, said one broker. If the market reopened on Monday, there would
be two categories of investors --- those who have title deeds and those who
have not -- which would be unfair.
_ reported that for the first time the international community,
particularly the Americans and the British, was so determined to secure the
resumption of Cyprus talks and to broker a settlement. They wanted to
exploit the "positive climate" created in Greek-Turkish relations before
the EU summit in Helsinki.
According to State Department sources, the "Americans do not want a
resumption of talks for the sake of talks", but are demanding that these
are "honest and constructive". The US fears that if Turkey does not
contribute positively to talks before the December EU summit, Greece would
not be co-operative with regard to Turkey's EU objectives and the good
climate would disappear.
_ said that the Americans had directed all their efforts towards Turkey,
and it was clear that they were placing all their hopes on Turkish Prime
Minister Bulent Ecevit, who will be in Washington next week. US ambassador
in Ankara, Mark Parris was quoted as saying that Ecevit could prove to be
the politician that would secure a Cyprus settlement.
© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999