Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot unions will be holding joint May Day celebrations for the first time in 56 years in the buffer zone that divides the two communities.
They are calling on Cypriot workers from both sides to rally together and fight to protect their labour rights, an announcement said.
Celebrations will take place on Thursday, May 1, at the Çetinkaya football stadium in the buffer zone at 7pm. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, General Secretary of Labour Federation PEO Pambis Kyritsis and leader of the Turkish Cypriot Revolutionary Trade Unions Federation DEV-iŞ Mehmet Seyis said that the joint celebration aims to send a message of unity among workers in Cyprus.
“After 56 years since the fascist attacks against the pioneer workers on May 1, 1958, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers will honour the day of unity, struggle and solidarity among workers organising together in Nicosia on May 1 a joint event,” the announcement said.
Reading the announcement in both Greek and Turkish, the two union leaders stressed that “the global economic crisis and its consequences have highlighted even further the common class interests of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers, as well as the need to intensify their struggles against the measures of austerity and the abolition of workers’ achievements”.
The announcement which was co-authored by six unions and signed by a total of 54 Greek and Turkish Cypriot organisations points out that in both the north and the south workers and society at large are experiencing the results of the memorandum agreed by the government and which include the recession, a dramatic increase in unemployment and poverty, cuts to education and health and a sell-off of national wealth, among others.
It is however noted that the re-launching of negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem is a ‘positive development’.
“A mutually accepted solution that expresses the interest of Cypriots is the common goal of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers,” unions said.
PEO is organising a gathering outside the Finance Ministry in Nicosia on Thursday, at 6pm and participants will then march to the Çetinkaya football stadium in the buffer zone where events will begin at 7pm.