The mobilizations started after the dismissal of a manager that fired an alarm among the middle officials of the company, as they got scared they might have the same luck. So they called for a general assembly that gathered some 40 persons who decided to demand a collective agreement. Thought, the management called the middle officials and assured them they didn't face any risk and promissed them a well care fund for all employees. Meanwhile the unions started signing members and asked for the mediation of the ministry of employment that claimed this wasn't leading anywhere. The management to overcome the dead-end and avoid a strike called the employees to reach a compromise but without recognising them the right to belong to a union. So the unions took some strike measures that were though supported only by a minority among the employees. The middle officials of the company, that are some kind of supervisors, with one exeption only, denied to participate to the strike as they were assured by the management that they would have themselves covered. When the middle officials affiliated with the employeer's side, many employees were affected and hesitated to move on a strike. People from the community, eastern european workers whose housing is upon their employer's responsibility, and the cashiers decided to stay inside the workplace and get to work. 110 people work for the company, 70 in Nicosia and 40 in Limassol, all of them under individual contracts that involve only their pensionary income and work-time: 40 hours of work per week for the Cypriot citizens, 36 hours for the part-time workers (som 1/3 of the personnel) and 48 hours for the people from the community, that are offered also housing. For most of them, wages are are around the lowest level, 700-800 euros monthly. The middle officials are bulk-paid, and there are some cases who get more than 1,500 euros per month, when the management estimates there is an increased consumption in their stores. Working over-time pays usually double money during holidays and single everyday when they are registered but this happens very rarely (christmas, easter and august). Usually the employees work every day one extra hour without getting paid for it. They have no medical insurance, no registration for pension and care fund, though the management claims they get salary raises couple of times a year.
The management denies to sign a collective agreement that will resister the work places and considers that the individual contracts can play this same role. The unions disagree with the individual registrations and demand a collective agreement for all of the personnel to raise to lowest limits of hiring and bring in salary levels. The unions don't disagree if the company wants to pay someone more than the agreement, but consider the collective agreement a necessary protection for the many with low wages.
The strike goes on for more than two weeks. The store cannot function properly. The 22 strikers are mostly young Cypriot women. They prevent from entering the store and inform them on their strike and their demands. Many customers leave and wish them good luck. Some others insist on going shopping so the strikers leave them pass. One company manager hit with his car a striker woman and this incident was reported to the police. The strikers' morale seems to be high. They are chanting football slogans replacing the word "championship" with the word "right". Two days earlier their collegues that break the strike went outside the stores and took photos of them with placards against the unions and supporting the management. The mass media, maybe because of their advertisements interests supported the strike-breakers mobilization and keep a pro-management stance. The strike-breakers are mainly officials, students, middleage men and eastern europeans. The strikers have lost hope to bring their collegues on their side. Now their hope are ostly the duck workers who since their fifth day of the strike deny to carry the cargo of the company in a sign of solidarity to the strikers.
from the blog nekatomata and the direct action news