Bank of Cyprus caves in to trade union de­mands, af­ter­noons abol­ished

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The bank staff trade union ETYK’s strong-arm tac­tics seem to have paid off as a new deal struck with the is­land’s big­gest len­der – with oth­ers ex­pected to fol­low – sees cash tills clos­ing daily at 2.30pm as of this week, at 2pm on Fri­days and abol­ish­ing the Mon­day af­ter­noon shift.

ETYK de­scribed the deal with Bank of Cyprus as a “vic­tory” for its mem­bers, who will now ben­e­fit from a 37hour week, priv­i­leged fixed-in­ter­est bor­row­ing rates, but a re­duced con­tri­bu­tion of the em­ployer’s share into the staff prov­i­dent fund.

The trade union, that has clearly not heard of rolling shifts and af­ter­noon work in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate cus­tomers and busi­nesses strug­gling to re­cover from the 2013 cri­sis, praised board mem­ber Mike Spanos for the “good spirit and hon­esty” dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions for the col­lec­tive agree­ments, that avoided the me­di­a­tion of the Labour Min­istry.

As of Mon­day, BOCY staff will clock in at 7.30am as be­fore, and clock out at 3pm Mon­days to Thurs­days and 2.30pm on Fri­days, with the cash tills clos­ing half an hour ear­lier. In ef­fect, coun­ters will open at 8am and have an hour and a half more Mon­day to Thurs­day, and one hour more on Fri­days.

But in a sign that the Cyprus bank­ing sys­tem is fast re­turn­ing to the Dark Ages, the trade union de­clared in a long-winded state­ment that it se­cured “labour har­mony” and that “this new agree­ment will un­avoid­ably pro­vide an in­di­ca­tor for the rest of the bank­ing sys­tem.”

It added that “through a pol­icy of whis­pers, some [un­named] tried to im­pose work hour so­lu­tions that are in­com­pat­i­ble with the re­al­i­ties of Cyprus” and claimed its de­mands were “rea­son­able”.

ETYK se­cured cus­tomer-sub­sidised fixed-in­ter­est bor­row­ing rates for its mem­bers that will main­tain the agreed rate up to the ex­piry of the loan, re­gard­less of mar­ket pre­vail­ing rates. These will be fixed at a 1.4% base rate for re­tail loans and 1.6% for stu­dent loans and over­drafts.

For bor­row­ing by com­mon­ers, the bank’s base rate is cur­rently 4% which with a 4% in­ter­est in case of a per­sonal guar­an­tee rises to an an­nu­alised per­cent­age rate of 8.9% and with as­set-based col­lat­eral, that car­ries a 2.75% in­ter­est, rises to an APR of 7.6%.

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