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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 workplace.

Numbers and structure

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

The 2005 legislation has applied to companies with 30 or more employees since March 2008. Before that the thresholds were higher.

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 right of the local union committees have been strengthened by the 2005 legislation on information and consultation, which requires that information should be provided on the development of the business, and the committee should be consulted on issues likely to affect employment levels or work practices (subject to thresholds linked to employee numbers – see above).

 

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.

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.

Representation at group level

The legislation does not provide for representation at group level.

L. Fulton (2015) Worker representation in Europe. Labour Research Department and ETUI. Produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network, online publication available at http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations.