The day after hoteliers and union representatives in Cyprus shook hands over the terms for the renewal of the industry’s collective agreement finds both sides ready to put the unofficial proposal to their members for approval.
The agreement, brokered on Wednesday by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou and finalised after lengthy negotiations, has pros and cons for both sides, according to insiders.
Nonetheless, it does include a legally mandated minimum salary which is a key worker demand. As well as pay rises, reimbursement of welfare contributions, integration of the basic salary unit and a five-day working week with a total of 38 hours.
Emilianidou is expected to submit the official proposal in the next few days with insiders saying she wants to focus on setting a minimum wage for 20 jobs concerning the kitchen, reception, bar, maintenance and housekeeping.
What both sides have won
Both hoteliers and unions have declared themselves winners since the agreement succeeded in paving the way for benefits by both sides. Both sides are currently counting the pros and cons so that they can convince their members to vote in favour of the crucial deal.
- Unions have achieved legal employment protection over specific low-paid jobs while the five-day, 38-hour week has been guaranteed. Wages have been restored, achieving increases for a four-year period. The welfare fund has also been restored with the unions achieving an increase in the employer’s contribution.
Unions also consider important the fact that the way has been paved for legal protection of provisions and other agreements in the future.
Unions consider it a negative that they have not managed to win all their demands when it comes to pay rises. For example, they had demanded a salary increase of 4% but they have to wait and see what the Minister will officially propose.
- Hoteliers have succeeded in abolishing the anachronistic institution of the unit point. Employers were finding it difficult to calculate the payroll of an employee with additional operation costs. The unit’s calculation varied according to a hotel’s profits. Everything will now be calculated on the total salary.
Hoteliers have also succeeded in safeguarding the industry’s image. They want to send the message that wages have not decreased and that the minimum wage of around €870 is now guaranteed.
But what is probably their biggest win is that labour unrest which prevailed for years is now over – at least for the next four years.
The biggest con for hoteliers however is the rise in labour costs even though they acknowledge that granting reimbursements for salary cuts during the island’s economic crisis was inevitable. That’s why they tried to keep new pay rises to the minimum.