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Sleeping with the enemy?

6 January 2013

Yesterday, it was reported that Savas Bozat, the head of the BES union representing council workers in Nicosia, apparently, in an act of desperation and doubtless high dudgeon, contacted the Greek Cypriot President, Christofias requesting a meeting with him.  It is said that Christofias was ready to meet with the union leader. I bet he was. That’s one in the eye for the TRNC leadership! It was suggested that Bozat is hoping to get some EU money to pay his workers who have been on strike for over three months.

The cash-strapped council managed to get a loan worth TL90 million from Turkish bank, Ziraat. However, the details cannot be finalised as there are not enough council members to form a quorum as many have now resigned.

BES union, for some reason better known to itself, has refused to pay its striking workers out of its own funds. Bozat had said that “the funds need to be analysed and that payments can only be made once the strike is over. He said that it was not right to bring this issue up while the strike is on-going and that payments would be made once it was determined what the amounts in lost wages were.”

Whatever did that mean? Surely, that is one of the reasons to have a fund in order to support striking workers? Union workers have paid their union dues and apparently there is TL1.5 million in the fund. Why couldn’t the workers receive strike pay?

One wonders how these men and their families have survived all this time on no pay. Are they then, pawns in some larger political game?

That the union leader should to go to the ‘enemy’ President Christofias, to find money is bound to be humiliating for the TRNC leadership. Maybe that will make them budge! However, in the meanwhile, the council workers suffer, while leaders carry on speech making.

No matter how anti-union some people may be, let’s not forget that council workers began striking because they were not getting their health and pension contributions paid by the council and they were receiving their salaries late. So who can blame them for striking?

 

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