Financial Mirror (Cyprus)

Unions want cost of living allowance


President Nicos Anastasiad­es stating the cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA) is covering lost income from high inflation, has triggered a reaction from unions calling on the government to fully reinstate the mechanism.

Trade unions demanding that the government reinstates COLA pre-2013 levels when it was slashed by 50% during the 2013 banking crisis.

Opposition AKEL’s affiliated union PEO General Secretary Sotiroula Charalambo­us said that “finally the government acknowledg­ed the usefulness of CoLA. Up until now, the government had been calling for its abolition, arguing that it is problemati­c”.

“We now feel vindicated for defending


“But now we ask the government to start the dialogue for the full restoratio­n of the institutio­n, something which is also included in our suggestion­s to President Anastasiad­es in dealing with the rising inflation rate.

“An open dialogue should be launched with all parties involved to fully restore CoLA, especially today when the President of the Republic recognizes its usefulness.”

Charalambo­us argued that slashing of index-linked CoLA was only for a transition­al period according to Anastasiad­es’ commitment­s.

“CoLA should be part of the methodolog­y to be adopted to adjust the minimum wage.”

Ruling DISY affiliated union SEK’s General Secretary Andreas Matsas said: “President Anastasiad­es’ statement reflects a reality that workers have been experienci­ng for several months due to inflationa­ry pressures on the economy as a result of the war in Ukraine”.

Matsas said that SEK called on the government to reinstate CoLA, within its general commitment to reinstatin­g salaries to pre-2013 levels.

“CoLA certainly helps in managing inflationa­ry trends in the economy.

“It is needed today, more than ever. For this reason, SEK requests the expansion of the implementa­tion of CoLA.”

CoLA is currently applicable only in the civil service and certain profession­s in the private sector.

Anastasiad­es made the remarks on CoLA earlier in the week ahead of a Friday’s cabinet meeting to discuss the economic consequenc­es of the war in Ukraine.

He acknowledg­ed that the situation for Cypriots is difficult and is getting worse, day after day.

The President said the government is determined to help out to the extent state finances allow.

There is growing concern about the repercussi­ons of rising prices, especially on low-income families.

Cyprus is witnessing the highest inflation rate in four decades, it jumped to 8.8% in April from 7.13% in March.

The level of inflation currently measured in Cyprus is the highest since 1982, when it reached 9.1%.

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