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