A workers strike at Paphos Municipality that started on Tuesday in protest of the municipal council’s decision to privatise the municipal refuse collection services will continue until Monday March 16, workers’ unions decided on Friday, the second extension of measures announced in a week.
On Thursday, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos regretted the escalation of union action, a move he considers “absurd”.
“At a time when they should have behaved responsibly, the unions escalated measures disregarding everyone,” Phedonos told journalists at a press conference.
He added that some members of staff view the measures as unjustified since none of the staff will be let go as a result of the changes, and that the majority of refuse collectors want to be transferred to the new “Green Service”.
He also called on the unions to visit him at his office if they want a dialogue.
Unions said on Friday that they received no response from the mayor on the proposal they submitted for compromise that takes into account the Coronavirus crisis and called on the municipal council anew to reconsider its privatisation call. Should this be satisfied, they added, they are ready to suspend the strike.
They said that the “unacceptable” decision was taken by a marginal majority and that the strike is backed from the majority of the workforce.
Their proposal to compromise recommends ending the strike given that the municipal council freezes its decision to privatise the refuse collection service and commits to participate in talks on the issue in the coming days.
“The mayor, instead of coming to the table to discuss our proposal and put an end to the crisis during this difficult time for the country he chose to take a negative stance,” the unions said.
They also welcomed an announcement by municipal councillors reportedly backing their proposal who they said make up the majority of the municipal council.
Finally, they requested the public’s understanding for any inconvenience caused adding that this is an issue of critical importance to the municipality and society at large.