Cyprus Port Workers Protest Ports Privatization

Port workers continued to abstain from overtime work as a sign of protest against the privatization of the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA). Refusing to do overtime work is creating financial repercussions and serious delays in servicing ships at Limassol ports, according to the Shipping Herald.

According to SIDIKEK PEO union member George Epaminondas “there are delays affecting about 20 to 25 per cent of the ships.”  The port workers said that they may even resort to stronger measures. This, according to SIDIKEK PEO union member Giorgos Epaminondas, is a unilateral decision jointly undertaken by DEOK, SYALK and SYPYALK unions.

SYPALK general secretary Evgenios Zinonas said port employees are forced to take on two or three jobs because of understaffing and questioned whether the interests of the Cyprus Shipping Agents lied with the economy of the country or their own interests.

He called on them to take an active role in smoothing out tensions and differences rather than making this worse between the Ports Authority and the unions if they really care about the ongoing situations at the Limassol port.

Earlier this month, a supplementary item of €41.1m was added to the Cyprus Ports Authority 2015 budget, covering payouts related to the pending privatization of the ports at Limassol and Larnaca.

Broken down, €31.1 million will go towards buying back the licences issued to 116 porters, plus €10 million for the voluntary retirement of CPA staff who wish to exit.

Porters union representative Demetris Patsalos however said that while porters wish to bid for the services of navigation and towing, they have been asked to leave their jobs first.

A number of employees are expected to be made redundant once the ports’ commercial operations are handed over to private operators.

The privatization of commercial operations at the two ports is an obligation stemming from the bailout deal between Cyprus and international creditors.

RCL Agencies will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates once available.