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Threat of power cuts avoided

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Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) trade unions suspended strike action scheduled for Wednesday that would have caused power cuts after Labour Minister Kyriakos Kousios intervened.

He arranged for unions to discuss grievances “within the next week” with energy and finance ministers.

Unions said an extraordinary meeting was convened Tuesday at the initiative Kyriakos Kousios, whom they informed about the issues that concern EAC workers and fears about the future of the organisation and the energy sector.

“During the consultation, it was agreed that the Minister of Labour should arrange, as soon as possible and in any case within the next week, in his presence, meetings with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Finance to discuss the issues of concern.

“Following this development, we decided to suspend the measures announced for Wednesday.”

The Cyprus Transmission System Operator (TSO) had scheduled power cuts Wednesday to ensure the security of the electricity grid, with the plan for half-hourly outages in the Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta districts.

The cuts were deemed necessary after EAC staff planned to remove Dhekelia Power Station’s six steam units from the system as part of industrial action.

Energy Minister Natasa Pilides characterised measures by EAC workers as “primarily political,” saying they were extortionate and would hurt ordinary people, who will be asked to pay even greater costs.

Unions also want the government to approve 375 new positions at the authority. The Finance Ministry has recently greenlighted 146 of the positions requested.

Business leaders said industrial action would inflict irreparable damage on businesses as power cuts happen during the busy festive season.