Home / National Industrial Relations / Countries / Cyprus* / Workplace Representation

Workplace Representation

Workplace representation in Cyprus is through the unions. Arrangements at workplace level depend on the particular circumstances that apply in each workplace.

Workplace representation in Cyprus is through the union structure. Apart from the area of health and safety, where a committee should be elected by all employees in workplaces where more than 10 are employed, there is no other body representing employees.

 

Workplace representation is also, in line with the rest of the Cyprus industrial relations system, not closely regulated by legislation. However, the industrial relations code makes specific reference to consultation, stating that the employer should “engage in joint consultation” in any case where the union or the employees believe that “a decision … may adversely affect them [the employees] or may have a repercussion on their relations with their employer”. In addition, legislation introduced in 2005 to implement the EU directive on information and consultation has strengthened the legal framework for workplace representation.

 

In practical terms, local union bodies deal with grievances brought to them by employees, with the employer’s proposals and with the day-to-day concerns of the workforce.

 

Figures from Eurofound’s 2013 European Company Survey show that 33% of establishments with at least 10 employees have some form of official employee representation – essentially through the union. This figure is close to the EU28 average of 32%. As elsewhere in Europe, larger organisations are much more likely to have such a structure than smaller ones. Among establishments with more than 250 employees, 61% have employee representation.

Numbers and structure

 

Workplace representation in Cyprus is through the trade union. The numbers involved depend on the union and the particular circumstances. They will generally work through joint meetings with management. The 2005 legislation (Law 78(I) 2005)  implementing the EU directive on information and consultation has not changed this, as it requires that management and the existing employee representatives in the workplace (the unions) should negotiate the appropriate practical arrangements for informing and consulting employees. It does not set up any new structures.

 

The 2005 legislation applies to companies with 30 or more employees. The basis for calculating the number of employees is the average number of employees over two years, including part-time and temporary employees, although not agency staff. The number of part-time and temporary employees included is calculated on a full-time equivalent basis (Article 4).[1]

Tasks and rights

 

Union workplace committees will typically deal with issues such as health and safety, work organisation, discipline and the implementation of the collective agreement.  The industrial relations code says that in the specific area of large-scale redundancies the employer should notify the union as soon as possible and begin consultation.

 

The information and consultation rights of the local union committees have been strengthened by the 2005 legislation on information and consultation (Law 78(I) 2005).

 

This essentially reproduces the wording of the 2004 EU directive and it requires

  • that information should be provided on the development and likely evolution of the business;
  • that employee representatives should be informed and consulted on issues likely to affect employment levels, particularly where employment is threatened; and
  • that they should also be informed and consulted on decisions which may lead to substantial changes in the organisation of work and employment contracts, including redundancies and the transfer of the business.

 

In those companies where collective bargaining is carried out at company level the workplace committee may be involved in this, although more often a full-time official will play the key role.

 

The committee also provides the link to the union structures, encouraging employees to join the union, getting support and advice from the full-time officials where necessary.

 

Election and term of office

 

Trade union representatives at the workplace are elected by a meeting of the members. Typically the term of office is one year.

 

Protection against dismissal

 

There are no specific legal protections against dismissal for workplace trade union representatives but discrimination on grounds of trade union activity is unlawful. In addition, the 2005 legislation on information and consultation states that employee representatives making use of these rights must not be adversely affected as a result of their activities.

 

Time off and other resources

 

Trade union representatives have general rights to enable them to carry out their duties and in larger workplaces the union will have access to a room and limited time off. In the banks and some public utilities the main trade union representative is completely released from normal duties.

 

Training rights

 

There are no specific training rights for trade union representatives.

Representation at group level

 

The legislation does not provide for representation at group level.

[1] http://www.cylaw.org/nomoi/enop/non-ind/2005_1_78/full.html (Accessed 07.12.2018)

L. Fulton (2020) National Industrial Relations, an update. Labour Research Department and ETUI (online publication). Online publication available at http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations.