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AKEL’s proposals put an end to this inhumane practice of prolonged standing of workers

Statement by AKEL MP Giorgos Koukoumas after the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Affairs Committee

25 April 2023

Every day we see in bakeries and department stores that there is no chair or stool at the checkout counters for workers. It is common knowledge that thousands of workers in many workplaces – such as bakeries, fruit markets, supermarkets, department stores, clothing, footwear, cosmetics stores, etc. – are under strict orders from their employers not to sit for the entire duration of their working hours, even when the nature of the work they perform does not require it. This is an inhumane employer practice that puts daily strain on workers and accumulates serious health problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders and rheumatism, as documented in a special report released by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

The package of two AKEL Draft Bills, on which the debate began today in the Parliamentary Labour Affairs Committee, establishes an obligation for employers to organise working time in such a way that no worker is forced to stand for prolonged and uninterrupted periods of time.

The only explicit disagreement on the AKEL proposals expressed today was from the employers’ side, in particular the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEBE), which considers that such legislation is not needed. The Ministry of Labour, for its part, asked for time for consultation in order to submit its own bill. We have given a two-month deadline. AKEL stresses that in any case, legislation protecting workers from prolonged and uninterrupted standing should be in place before the summer. Before the end of June, AKEL will bring the issue back to Parliament for decisions.

AKEL’s message is clear: Workers are not robots and if some employers do not understand this, we should force them to understand it.



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