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Unions demand access to casino resort

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Trade Unions are demanding to unionise staff at Europe’s first super casino resort, City of Dreams Mediterranean, officially opened by President Nikos Christodoulides in Limassol.

The employer considers it has the legal right to deny trade union officials access to the workplace, arguing that none of its staff is unionised.

Unions, on their part, invoke relevant provisions of the legislation that allow trade union officials access to workplaces.

Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou is preparing to intervene in the dispute.

According to sources, the minister has already requested the opinion of the island’s Legal Services and the International Labour Organisation.

The same sources say the employer’s side is not against intervention by the minister.

Panayiotou first intervened in the dispute to convince unions to call off Tuesday’s demonstration during the casino’s official opening ceremony.

Three unions, AKEL-affiliated PEO, DISY-affiliated SEK, and DEOK, with ties to social democrats EDEK, had agreed to protest in front of the resort on Tuesday.

However, following Panayiotou’s intervention, SEK and DEOK pulled out, leaving only PEO to protest.

The Labour Ministry is accused of helping casino employers avoid unionising the workplace.

Unions claim the Labour Ministry issued some 834 licenses for third-country workers at the complex.

But the employer argues that only 400 third-country nationals work at the casino and hotel.

The complex employs 2,000 staff while actively trying to recruit another 400 personnel.

City of Dreams says working conditions are governed by personal labour contracts whose terms are “exceptional”.

In comments to the news site Stockwatch, PEO’s general secretary, Sotiroula Charalambous, argued that employers’ attitude towards unions “takes us back to the 1930s”.

“It is unacceptable that in the year 2023, unionists are not allowed to enter a workplace,” said Charalambous.

She added: “There is no provision in any legislation to deny the right of trade union officials to access workers in any workplace”.

City of Dreams hopes to attract an extra 300,000 tourists annually to the holiday.

Melco hospitality and leisure group built the integrated resort, which took three years to construct at a cost of over €637 mln.

It is viewed as a “game-changer” for the key tourism sector that will address seasonality and attract high-rollers from nearby Israel, the Gulf and further afield.

The resort’s fourteen-floor luxury hotel features 500 guest rooms and suites, the largest swimming pool complex, tennis/squash facilities, outdoor amphitheatre, family adventure park and 8,000 sqm of event space.

It has 7,500 square metres of gaming space, including 100 tables and 1,000 slot machines.