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Limassol port workers go on strike

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An indefinite strike was announced by Limassol port workers to protest against the government’s refusal to allow more people into the profession.

On Tuesday morning the porters switched off their machines and gathered outside the new harbour of Limassol.

“We have been asking for the inclusion of more colleagues since 2004; in 2012 despite that our demand was accepted by the Cyprus Ports Authority, it was turned down by the works ministry,” head of the Limassol licensed porters Nicos Constantinou said.

He said the ministry said it was because of the upcoming privatisation of port services.

This rejection had caused huge problems, Constantinou said, mainly with the work load.

“Our numbers have been reduced so that we cannot cope sometimes,” he said.

Due to the strike, two commercial ships loaded with 450 containers have not docked so far, while the strike is also expected to affect the export of fruit and vegetables.

Constantinou apologised on behalf of the association to all affected parties but said the porters would continue their struggle until their demand is met.

The Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) reacted quickly to the strike. “With a series of pretexts and objections, small interest groups active in ports that historically have enjoyed privileged incomes take the country hostage by limiting or stopping completely operations in ports,” it said in an announcement.

OEB urged the state to take decisive steps and make legal regulations against any measures that disrupt the smooth operation of ports.

“The unacceptable and harmful practice of the last months, with the continuous disruption of the smooth operation of our ports, must finally stop,” OEB said.