Cyprus: 30 000 Workers Say No to the “Reform Package”

On 28 January, more than 30 000 workers participated in a massive meeting and a general strike organised by the Cyprus trade union movement and supported by opposition parties and NGOs. The aim of the meeting was to say no the “reform package”, which would hurt fundamental workers’ rights.

The content of the “reform package” aims, among other things, to restrict the practical application of right to organise and collective bargaining, and to privatise public institutions, even the ones that are in profit, while cutting the salaries of the workers and pensions. The austerity measures further complicate a situation of social dumping on the labour market fuelled by a policy of legitimisation of the employment of unregistered immigrant workers from Turkey in an attempt to change the demographic composition of the population.

Although participation in the general strike was very high, its message does not seem to have been heard by those who hold power. “The authorities should listen to what the workers have to say – that’s how real democracies work,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary.