Cyprus: Representativeness of the European social partner organisations in the cross-industry social dialogue

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Collective bargaining,
  • Social partners,
  • Social dialogue,
  • Industrial relations,
  • Published on: 13 March 2014



About
Country:
Cyprus
Author:
Eva Soumeli
Institution:

In the present system of industrial relations in Cyprus, cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist. Collective bargaining is mainly decentralised, with the largest number of agreements concluded at enterprise level. Despite the numerical preponderance of the enterprise level, the sectoral level is seen as just as important, if not more important, as far as coverage is concerned. Overall, however, collective bargaining coverage has shown a tendency to fall.

In terms of the impact of the crisis on the relevant peak-level social partner associations, while the trade unions reported a decrease of membership, on the employers’ side, it is reported that there is a clear trend towards increased numbers of members, as well as a clear reversal of the bargaining power of the two sides, with the employers’ side clearly in the lead. The reversal of bargaining power in favour of the employers is considered as having a negative effect on collective bargaining. Both parties also foresee a clear decentralisation trend of collective bargaining. Additionally, in the public and the semi-public sectors of the economy the deteriorating economic conditions have led to economic measures which were enforced through legislation and State directives, affecting to a great extent established practices, particularly social dialogue on the bipartite level.

1. Cross-sector collective agreements

1.1. Are employees in your country covered by cross-sector collective bargaining conducted by peak-level social partner organisations, including economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

No

There is no collective bargaining at cross-sector level in Cyprus.

1.2. If yes, please indicate whether cross-sector collective bargaining takes place at:

-National level

-Regional/Territorial level

-Both

If both national and regional/territorial cross-sector collective bargaining is present, please illustrate briefly the relative importance of the two levels.

1.3. If yes, please consider the five most relevant* cross-sector collective agreements valid in 2011 (or most recent data) and indicate their type (economy-wide, inter-sector, occupational), the name of the agreements and their duration, the geographical scope (national/territorial), the sectors, occupations and types of undertakings (e.g. only SME) covered by the agreements, the bargaining parties to the agreements and the numbers of employees covered (also estimate)

2. Formulation and implementation of cross-industry public policies

2.1. Do bipartite or tripartite statutory bodies dealing with labour market and industrial relations regulation at cross-sector level exist? If yes, please indicate their main domain of activity (for instance, health and safety, equal opportunities, labour market, social security and pensions etc.) and the interest organisations having representatives in them:

Table 1: Cross-sector public policies*
Name of the body and scope of activity Bipartite/tripartite Trade unions (union confederations) having representatives (reps) Employer associations having reps.

In the present industrial relations system, the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) is considered the most important mechanism of tripartite representation. The specific mechanism that functions within the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance (MLSI), deals with any proposal, policy, legislation, regulation etc., regarding industrial relations at national level.

Tripartite

Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus (DEOK) one representative.

Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) three representatives.

Cyprus Employees Confederation (SEK) three representatives.

Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) three representatives.

Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) three representatives.

* Cross-sector policies target and affect (major part of) the national economy.

It is important to mention that although law does not institutionalise bodies of social dialogue, the implementation of almost all proposals and policies regarding industrial relations was and remains the result of social dialogue between the government, the employer organisations and the trade unions. On a practical level, cooperation between the three parties is achieved through technical committees and other bodies of tripartite representation, depending on the issue under examination. In this context, it is not possible to include in Table 1 all technical committees and tripartite bodies that are currently in place.

3. The peak-level associations on the labour and employer side

This section includes the following cross-sector, peak-level trade union confederations and cross-sector, peak-level employer organisations:

(i) cross-sector, peak-level trade union confederations which are directly or indirectly (via their member unions) party to cross-sector collective bargaining/collective employment regulation OR directly involved in bipartite or tripartite consultation in labour market and industrial relations regulation at cross-sector level

(ii) cross-sector, peak-level trade union confederations which are a member of at least one of the cross-sector European Union Federations (i.e. the European Trade Union Confederation – ETUC; Eurocadres; and the European Confederation of Executives and Managerial Staff – CEC)

(iii) cross-sector, peak-level employer organisations which are directly or indirectly (via their member associations) a party to cross-sector collective bargaining/collective employment regulation OR directly involved in bipartite or tripartite consultation in labour market and industrial relations regulation at cross-sector level

(iv) cross-sector, peak-level employer organisations which are a member of at least one of the cross-sector European Employer/Business Federations (i.e.BUSINESSEUROPE; the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services – CEEP; and the European Association of Craft and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – UEAPME)

3a Overview of the Industrial relations landscape in the economy

Social dialogue representation on a national level has been limited to a small number of organisations, at confederation level. As a result, apart from CCCI, OEB, DEOK, PEO and SEK the rest of the organisations are practically excluded from the official bodies of tripartite representation, and collective employment regulation. Against this background, although the Union of Cyprus Banking Employees (ETYK) and the Pancyprian Union of Public Servants (PASYDY) are peak-level national organisations and represent more than one sector of economic activity as classified according to NACE revision 2, they are not included in the specific study.

All five organisations that currently participate in social dialogue recognise that they lack both the necessary expertise to deal with the increasing number of issues and the complexity of issues at national level, as well as the necessary personnel that will enable them to participate in European Social Dialogue procedures in a more efficient way. In any case, according to the view of all five organisations that participate in the various tripartite bodies as well as in all policymaking tripartite organisations (e.g. the Human Resources Development Authority, HRDA), the experience gained so far has been extremely positive because there is a real possibility of dialogue with a view to achieving consensus, whereas as a rule government’s commitment is achieved through unanimous decisions. Furthermore, the process of social dialogue and cooperation through the tripartite bodies makes possible a timely intervention in labour and social policy issues.

In terms of the impact that the crisis had on the relevant peak-level social partner associations, Over the period from 2007 to 2012 there were no notable developments regarding the organisation of the social partners, while any foreseen changes are not related to the crisis.

On the employees’ side, all three unions included in this study reported that the trade union movement is affected by the crisis both collectively as well as individually. Collectively, mainly as far as the ability to intervene is concerned, and individually in terms of decreasing membership, which also affects the financial capacity of the organisations.

On the employers’ side, it is reported that there is a clear trend towards increased numbers of members, as well as a clear reversal of the bargaining power of the two sides, with the employers’ side clearly in the lead.

3b Data on the cross-sector, peak-level trade union confederations

Any reference to the three confederations that are listed below is made in alphabetical order rather than according to other criteria (e.g. numerical strength).

No affiliations at national level were reported for CEC and Eurocadres.

In terms of union membership, for reasons of consistency and comparability, we decided to cite the statistical data collected based on the files of the Trade Union Registrar, although they stop at 2008.

Table 2: Trade union confederation fact sheet: Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus (DEOK; Δημοκρατική Εργατική Ομοσπονδία Κύπρου)
According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

DEOK is a multi-sectoral confederation. It has five affiliated trade unions that cover the private sector of the economy and the semi-public sector.

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all occupations among both blue-collar workers and white-collar workers?

Yes

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, SMEs, etc.)?

No

Public-owned enterprises are not part of the organisation’s domain. The public sector in Cyprus is represented by the Pancyprian Union of Public Servants (PASYDY).

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all regions of your country?

Yes

General information on the union confederation

Is the union confederation directly or indirectly (via its member unions) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist in Cyprus.

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Economy-wide/Inter-sector/Occupational

Information not available

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

Information not available

If No. Is the union confederation engaged in cross-sector collective employment regulation?

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Is the union confederation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Within established tripartite structures

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this union confederation…?

Consultation takes place on a regular basis. However, based on information by the social partners there is an ambiguity on the exact time.

Members

How many lower-level trade union organisations are affiliated to the trade union confederation?

Five trade unions (2012)

How many active members in employment does the union confederation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member unions)?

9,407 active members (2008)

Please indicate/ estimate the union confederation’s density in terms of active members

DEOK was not in a position to give an estimate on union density. Overall, however, according to provisional data of the Trade Union Registrar, trade union density for 2011 was below 50%.

Affiliations

To which international organisations is the union confederation affiliated?

ITUC

To which European-level organisations is the union confederation affiliated?

ETUC

Source of information

General Secretary of DEOK

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

Table 3: Trade union confederation fact sheet: Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO; Παγκύπρια Εργατική Ομοσπονδία)
According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

PEO is a multi-sectoral confederation. Through its eight trade unions it represents all grades of the private and the semi-public sectors.

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all occupations among both blue-collar workers and white-collar workers?

Yes

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, SMEs, etc.)?

No

Public-owned enterprises are not part of the organisation’s domain. The public sector in Cyprus is represented by the Pancyprian Union of Public Servants (PASYDY).

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all regions of your country?

Yes

General information on the union confederation
Is the union confederation directly or indirectly (via its member unions) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist in Cyprus.

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Economy-wide/Inter-sector/Occupational

Information not available

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

Information not available

If No. Is the union confederation engaged in cross-sector collective employment regulation (see briefing note for explanation)?

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Is the union confederation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Within established tripartite structures

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this union confederation…?

Consultation takes place on a regular basis. There is however no available information on the exact time.

Members

How many lower-level trade union organisations are affiliated to the trade union confederation?

8 trade unions (2012)

How many active members in employment does the union confederation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member unions)?

83,132 active members (2008)

PEO, without providing an exact figure, reported that whereas for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 the number of members remained unchanged, for 2012 there are indications that fewer members are joining, with a corresponding decrease in the organisation’s finances of the order of 8–10%.

Please indicate/ estimate the union confederation’s density in terms of active members

Although PEO was not in a position to give an estimate regarding union density, it stated that union density depends very much on the sector of economic activity. For instance, although union density in the semi-public sector is more than 90%, in other sectors such as retail union density might be less than 10%.

Affiliations

To which international organisations is the union confederation affiliated?

WFTU

Source of information

Deputy General Secretary of PEO

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

Table 4: Trade union confederation fact sheet: Cyprus Employees Confederation (SEK; Συνομοσπονδία Εργαζομένων Κύπρου)
According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

SEK is a multi-sectoral confederation. Through its seven federations it represents all grades of the private and the semi-public sectors.

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all occupations among both blue-collar workers and white-collar workers?

Yes

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, SMEs, etc.)?

No

Public-owned enterprises are not part of the organisation’s domain. The public sector in Cyprus is represented by the Pancyprian Union of Public Servants (PASYDY).

According to its domain, does the union confederation potentially cover all regions of your country?

Yes

General information on the union confederation
Is the union confederation directly or indirectly (via its member unions) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist in Cyprus

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Economy-wide/Inter-sector/Occupational

Information not available

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

Information not available

If No. Is the union confederation engaged in cross-sector collective employment regulation?

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Is the union confederation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Within established tripartite structures

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this union confederation…?

Consultation takes place on a regular basis. There is however no available information on the exact time.

Members
How many lower-level trade union organisations are affiliated to the trade union confederation?

7 federations (2012)

How many active members in employment does the union confederation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member unions)?

70,322 active members (2008)

SEK, without providing a specific figure or estimate, reported a decrease in membership for 2011 and 2012. According to SEK, this decrease is mainly related to increased unemployment, more frequent changes in employer and early retirement.

Affiliations
To which international organisations is the union confederation affiliated?

ITUC

To which European-level organisations is the union confederation affiliated?

ETUC

Source of information

Deputy General Secretary of SEK

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

3c Data on the cross-sector, peak-level employer associations

The two employer associations are listed in alphabetical order rather than any other criterion (e.g. numerical strength).

No affiliations at national level were reported for CEEP.

Table 5: Employer organisation’s fact sheet: Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI; Εμπορικό και Βιομηχανικό Επιμελητήριο Κύπρου)
According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

No

The public sector is not covered by the CCCI.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover (directly or indirectly via its member associations) all (legal) forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, cooperatives, SMEs, etc.)?

No

Public-owned enterprises are not represented by the CCCI.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover companies in all regions of your country?

Yes

General information on the organisation
Is the employer organisation directly or indirectly (via its member associations) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist in Cyprus.

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Economy-wide/Inter-sector/Occupational

Information not available

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

Information not available

If No. Is the employer organisation involved in cross-sector collective employment regulation (see briefing note for explanation)?

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Is the employer organisation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Within established tripartite structures

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this employer organisation …?

Consultation takes place on a regular basis. There are no however information on the exact time.

Members

The members of the employer organisation are… (multiple responses are possible)

CCCI potentially covers all different types of membership, sectoral federations, regional federations as well as individual companies.

How many member companies does the employer organisation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member associations)?

140 direct members (professional associations) (2012)

How many employees work in these member companies in total?

Information not available.

Please indicate/ estimate the employer organisation’s density in terms of companies.

Information not available.

Please indicate/ estimate the employer organisation’s density in terms of employees employed by member companies.

Information not available.

Affiliations

To which international organisations is the employer organisation affiliated?

ICC, WASME

To which European-level organisations is the employer organisation affiliated?

Eurochambers, Eurocommerce, UEAPME

Source of information

Website: www.ccci.org.cy

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

Table 6: Employer organisation fact sheet: Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB; Ομοσπονδία Εργοδοτών και Βιομηχάνων Κύπρου)
According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

The public sector is not covered by OEB.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover (directly or indirectly via its member associations) all (legal) forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, cooperatives, SMEs, etc.)?

Yes

Public-owned enterprises are not covered by OEB.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover companies in all regions of your country?

Yes

General information on the organisation
Is the employer organisation directly or indirectly (via its member associations) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Cross-sector collective bargaining does not exist in Cyprus.

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Economy-wide/Inter-sector/Occupational

Information not available

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

Information not available

If No. Is the employer organisation involved in cross-sector collective employment regulation (see briefing note for explanation)?

Yes

Type of membership

Voluntary

Is the employer organisation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Within established tripartite structures

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this employer organisation …?

Consultation takes place on a regular basis, but there is no information available on the exact time.

Members
The members of the employer organisation are…

OEB potentially covers all different types of membership, sectoral federations, regional federations as well as individual companies.

How many member companies does the employer organisation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member associations)?

62 direct members (professional associations: 13 in industry, 5 in construction, 30 in services, 8 in trade, 4 in education and 2 in other sectors) (2012).

OEB reported that as a result of the crisis there is a clear trend towards increased numbers of members, which is not however accompanied by a corresponding increase in the organisation’s finances. Thus whereas in the 2008–2011 period taking 2008 as a reference year, a steady increase in membership emerged, OEB’s income has decreased. This happened as a result of the direct connection between members’ contributions and enterprises’ payrolls, and thus is due to increased dismissals as well as decreased pay. It is not yet known, however, if the reduction in income is large enough to give a negative figure.

How many employees work in these member companies in total?

Information not available.

Please indicate/ estimate the employer organisation’s density in terms of companies.

Information not available.

Please indicate/ estimate the employer organisation’s density in terms of employees employed by member companies.

Information not available.

Affiliations
To which European-level organisations is the employer organisation affiliated?

BusinessEurope

Source of information

Director of the Department of Labour Relations of OEB

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

Table 7: Employer organisation fact sheet: Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC; Αρχή Ηλεκτρισμού Κύπρου)
According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover the entire economy (in terms of sectors)?

No: EAC is a semi-public enterprise that covers only the electricity sector.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover (directly or indirectly via its member associations) all (legal) forms and size classes of enterprises (for instance: public ownership, private ownership, multinationals, domestic companies, cooperatives, SMEs, etc.)?

No: EAC is semi-public enterprise itself.

According to its domain, does the employer organisation potentially cover companies in all regions of your country?

No: EAC is the biggest enterprise in Cyprus in the electricity sector, covering the entire national network.

General information on the organisation
Is the employer organisation directly or indirectly (via its member associations) engaged in cross-sector collective bargaining?

Yes, directly

If Yes. Is this a form of economy-wide (covering all sectors), inter-sector (covering two or more sectors but not all) or occupational (across several sectors) bargaining?

Inter-sector

If Yes. Is this a form of national (covering all regions) or regional/territorial (covering only certain regions or geographical areas) bargaining?

National

Within the inter-sector bargaining, coverage is national.

Type of membership

This question doesn’t apply in the case of EAC because EAC is not an employer organisation but just an enterprise.

Is the employer organisation directly consulted by the authorities in matters of cross-sector significance?

Yes

If Yes. Is the consultation carried out…

Unilaterally

If Yes. Do consultations in matters of cross-sector significance involve this employer organisation …?

On an ad-hoc basis

Members
The members of the employer organisation are…

This question doesn’t apply in the case of EAC because EAC is not an employer organisation but just an enterprise, with no subsidiary companies.

How many member companies does the employer organisation have in total (directly or indirectly via its member associations)?
How many employees work in these member companies in total?

The total number of employees in EAC was 2,319 employees (31 December 2012).

Affiliations
To which international organisations is the employer organisation affiliated?

Information not available

To which European-level organisations is the employer organisation affiliated?

EURELECTRIC, CEEP.

Source of information

Human Resources Officer, EAC.

EIRO national correspondent: Eva Soumeli

4. Inter-associational relationships

4a Inter-union relationships

4a.1 Please list all trade union confederations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

  • DEOK
  • PEO
  • SEK

4a.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade union confederations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

No. Overall the trade unions believe that there has been a strengthening of the relations between trade union organisations on the basis of a collective effort for the better management of the problems that arise in the context of the crisis, without however abolishing the independence and autonomy of the organisations per se.

4a.3 If yes, are certain trade union confederations excluded from these rights?

4b Inter-employer association relationships

4b.1 Please list all employer associations covered by this study whose domains overlap.

  • CCCI
  • OEB

4b.2 Do rivalries and competition exist among the employer associations, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?

No. On the employers’ side, both OEB and CCCI believe that as a result of the economic crisis employer organisations have become more conscious than ever that there is no room for different approaches.

4b.3 If yes, are certain employer associations excluded from these rights?4b.4 Are there cross-sector employer associations which refuse to recognise the trade unions and refuse to enter collective bargaining?

No

5. The system of collective bargaining

5.1.a Estimate the national economy’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the economy).

As far as collective bargaining coverage is concerned, there is a significant gap in knowledge. As a result, any available data are fragmented and derive from various sources, while the methods by which they are collected and processed are unknown. In this context, it is problematic to cite any specific data. For instance, according to 2002 data, bargaining coverage was estimated at about 63%. However, this figure also included the broader public sector, where the proportion of coverage reaches almost 100%. According to the most recent data available as provided by the Cyprus Labour Institute (ΙΝΕK-PEO) with respect to the trend of collective agreements during the period 2006–2009 in selected sectors of economic activity, coverage of collective agreements has shown a tendency to fall. Even more worrying is the fact that this decline is occurring in sectors of the economy with relatively high rates of collective agreement coverage, such as hotels and restaurants as well as the construction industry.

According to PEO and SEK, the fall in bargaining coverage is an overall problem related to a growing move towards the deregulation of labour relations, where the constant increase in the number of non-Cypriot workers – the most vulnerable category of workers – has resulted in the greater use of such workers as a cheap, casual form of labour, with the resulting consequences that this entails. In the sector of hotels and restaurants for instance, according to estimates by the Federation of Hotel Industry Employees (OYXEB), affiliated to SEK, known more recently by the name Hotel, Catering and Restaurant Employees Federation (OEXEKA-SEK) and the Union of Hotel and Recreational Establishment Employees of Cyprus (SYXKA), affiliated to PEO, both the sectoral collective labour agreement in the restaurants and that in hotels are violated by almost all enterprises, and in most cases the violation is partial rather than universal. Partial violation either means that not all the provisions of the agreement are enforced, or that only a small portion of the staff is covered, usually the permanent staff who are union members.

5.1.b Estimate the national economy’s rate of collective bargaining coverage adjusted for those parts of the economy which are excluded from the right to collective bargaining (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the economy minus those excluded from the right to collective bargaining).

There is no information available.

5.2. Illustrate the relative importance of cross-sector agreements, sectoral agreements and single-employer agreements both in terms of:

  • The percentage of the total number of employees covered;
  • The existence of centralisation/coordination rules and mechanisms concerning the level of wage increases and/or the different topics treated at the various levels (cross-sector, sectoral, and single-employer levels).

Collective bargaining is regarded as mostly decentralised, with the largest number of agreements concluded at enterprise level. Approximately 450 enterprise agreements are currently in place (Department of Labour Relations of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance). The lack of evidence regarding the exact number of agreements signed each year is due to the failure of both employer organisations and trade unions to fulfil their obligation under the IRC and to submit the relevant data to the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.

In practice however, it is difficult to say which level predominates, mainly with regard to the percentages of workers whose pay is set on each level (sectoral level or enterprise level). A level is defined as dominant with regard to the percentages of workers whose pay is set on that particular level.

In other words, despite the numerical preponderance of the enterprise level (single employer bargaining), the sectoral level (multi employer bargaining) is seen just as important, if not more important as far as coverage is concerned. For instance, the sectoral agreement in the construction industry covers about 25,000 employees; the sectoral agreement in hotel industry covers about 16,000 employees and the sectoral agreement in the banking sector covers over 9,000 employees.

As a result of the crisis however, both the trade unions and the employer organisations foresee a decentralisation trend. On the employees’ side, according to PEO and SEK this trend is to a large extent related to the inability of the unions to press for implementation of the collective labour agreements. On the employers’ side, OEB stated that although the sectoral level will not be dismantled, the enterprise level will acquire a dominant role with regard to the regulation of basic terms and conditions of employment.

5.3a. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations? Does it apply to both cross-sector and sectoral agreements?

No

5.3b. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional? Is there any difference between cross-sector and sectoral agreements?

6. Statutory regulations of representativeness

6a Statutory regulations of representativeness for trade union confederations

6a.1 In the case of the trade union confederations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union confederation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements at cross-sector level? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

In terms of representativeness, in order to set up a trade union, certain regulations need to be adhered to, in accordance with the Trade Union Laws as amended from 1965 to 1996. More specifically, a minimum of 21 employees are required in the company, with all provisions for setting up the trade union followed in accordance with the law. Furthermore, the trade union should be registered with the Trade Union Register.

6a.2 In the case of the trade union confederations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union confederation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies at cross-sector level? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No

6a.3 Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness at cross-sector level? If yes, please report the most recent electoral outcome for the sector.

No

6b Statutory regulations of representativeness for employer organisations

6b.1 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements at cross-sector level? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No

6b.2 In the case of the employer organisations, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which an organisation must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies at cross-sector level? If yes, please briefly illustrate these rules and list the organisations which meet them.

No

6b.3 Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations at cross-sector level? If yes, please report the most recent outcome for the sector.

No

7. Commentary

The current financial crisis may be the biggest challenge the Cypriot trade union movement has ever had to face. This challenge refers mainly to the movement’s ability to effectively manage the negative effects of the crisis (e.g. high unemployment rates, collective dismissals, constant violations of labour legislation and collective labour agreements, undeclared work), but without undermining the foundations on which the system of industrial relations developed and was built. Given however that in the current situation the employer organisations have attained a comparative advantage over trade unions, it is a matter of time before it becomes apparent whether the employers’ side will make use of the comparative advantage it has in a way that would allow us to talk about an overturn of the basic principles of the system. Although in accordance with the claims of employers the terms and content of the bargain change but the philosophy of the system does not change, in the unions’ view, the demands of the employers’ side themselves put the basic principles of the system at risk. Against this background, despite MLSI’s belief that the situation is in hand, it seems that the unions’ confidence in the norms is badly shaken. As a result, it remains to be seen whether voluntary tripartism will continue to be the norm or whether the system will turn to more regulative structures.

Eva Soumeli, INEK-PEO

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