Limassol port strike ends, DP World signs labour deal

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Limassol port returned to work on Wednesday, ending a three-day impromptu strike after trade unions objected to changes in the collective labour agreements.

On Monday, the Ministry of Labour’s mediation service condemned the strike, saying it was unwarranted and violated labour laws that define the right to strike.

The trade union federations SEK and PEO said the employer, DP World Limassol, tried to introduce some clauses in the collective agreements up for renewal and indirectly blamed the Ministry of Labour for not responding to their warnings since June.

Issuing a statement on Tuesday on the “unplanned work stoppage” at the multipurpose terminal, DP World Limassol said: “We take our employee concerns extremely seriously, and we sincerely regret that this action is taking place.

“We are doing everything we can to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and minimise disruption at the site.

“In the meantime, we would like to assure our customers and partners that a contingency plan has been fully implemented to ensure our regular operations are maintained.”

After the breakthrough was achieved in the labour deadlock on Wednesday, employers’ federation Director-General Michalis Antoniou said: “The DP World workers’ strike at Limassol port has ended, and an agreement was reached. As a result, labour peace has been reached.”

However, the OEB executive added, “the regulation of the right to strike in essential services is necessary more than ever,” as port workers and those at airports and utilities are considered ‘essential public services’ and should be exempt from wildcat strikes that could create economic damage.

The strike affected several container vessels that were self-served from Monday and departed for their next port destinations, with commercial goods containers not cleared through customs.

A handful of cruise ships with no passengers and were anchored for maintenance before departure were also affected.

Wednesday’s end to the dispute was achieved after the management of DP World met with trade union representatives.

As a result, the outstanding collective agreements were signed, and workers returned to their posts.

Sources suggested the collective agreements remained unsigned from last November when an initial agreement had been reached.