06 February 2014 15:45

A large number of builders are being exploited by contractors who do not pay wages in due time on the pretext of the economic crisis, construction unions charged on Wednesday.

Michalis Panteli, regional secretary of Sek's construction union said that despite accepting 20% salary and benefit cuts many builders now have to go without receiving wages for five to 12 weeks.
"They also suffer cuts in benefits including holiday and leave pay which are issues that were agreed on and this is unacceptable," Panteli added.
"Imagine, a worker who relies on the week's wages to feed his family to have to go without pay for one week after another," he added.
According to Panteli, although there have been agreements between contractors and unions a large number of companies threaten their staff to agree slashing their provident fund or other benefits in order to keep their jobs.
"Not all companies are taking advantage of the economic crisis but there are many who do. We have meetings with contractors and we see those who face cashflow problems and those who do not," Pantelis said.
The building industry is one of the sectors of the economy that have been worst hit by the recession and the few builders that still have a job face serious problems including being "blackmailed by their employers".
"Not only do many contractors not stick to the agreements, they also went ahead with salary and benefit cuts of more than 20%," Panteli said.
Unions plan separate meetings and a general meeting shortly to discuss further action to deal with the worsening situation.
"We do not want to talk about a strike because this is not the time for it. We want to be correct, serious and responsible and we will decide what appropriate action to take," Panteli said.


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