The island’s Ministry of Labour seems to have what it takes to enable it to introduce a national minimum wage, Phileleftheros reports.
Studies by the Ministry in cooperation with the European Commission and the International Labour Office were concluded a couple of weeks ago and are now under review.
The review is expected to be conpleted by end of March and Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou is to brief the Council of Ministers before a dialogue resumes with social partners.
The Ministry appears to be ready to set the amount to be paid as a minimum wage but it won’t be cleared before the thorough review currently in process as it must take into consideration its impact on both the labour market and the economy at large.
The issue was debated on Tuesday before the House Labour Committee, along with proposals submitted by the Green Party, Citizens Alliance and ELAM.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Christos Malekkides refused to provide details on the amount of the minimum wage, but assured that the government will submit a bill to parliament soon.
The philosophy of the bill is that where there is a collective agreement with a higher salary than the minimum to be set by law, then the employee will receive the contractual one. It would be unreasonable if the bill paved the way for lower wages and earnings, he said.
However, the debate has made clear that given the opposing views of employers and trade unions, obstacles await the social dialogue that will follow.
Trade unionists argue that a minimum wage will put an end to deregulation of salaries and labour relations.
But employers disagree, with a Cyprus Federation of Employers spokesman arguing that it would be inappropriate to set a minimum wage now as salaries have been restored to pre-crisis levels and labour costs have already increased.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry is on the same wavelength, totally disagreeing with a horizontal setting of a minimum wage. The Chamber argues that a separate study should be conducted for each and every profession.
The MPs agreed to give the Labour Ministry a deadline up until May before a draft bill is submitted to parliament.
By Eleftheria Paizanou