Conference held on the harmonisation of European labour law in Cyprus and Greece a great success

On Friday 17th March 2023, the School of Law of the University of Nicosia and the Greek Association of Labour and Social Insurance Law (EDEKA) co-organised a one-day conference on the  harmonisation of European labour law within the legal systems of Cyprus and Greece.

The Conference was dedicated to the memory of the late former Minister of Labour and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus,  Ms Zeta Emilianides. The distinguished speakers highlighted that Ms Emilianides passed away prematurely, leaving behind an immense body of work and an irreplaceable void.

The Conference was marked by the first significant public appearance of the new Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Mr. Yiannis Panayiotou, who praised the outstanding service of the late Ms. Zeta Emilianides and her commitment to the public interest during her tenure as Minister. Mr. Panayiotou congratulated the organisers of the meeting and emphasised the importance of Cyprus utilising EU policies in labour matters. He also highlighted the significance of the tripartite cooperation between the state, employers and employees in resolving labour-related issues.

The Rector of the University of Nicosia Professor Philippos Pouyioutas greeted the participants, and highlighted the University’s commitment to support the Ministry of Labour by utilising the Institution’s expertise and knowledge. The Senior Vice Rector Professor Konstantinos N. Phellas, also extended his greetings and emphasised the invaluable contribution of the late Zeta Emilianides to labour affairs, employee protection, and labour peace. Professor Phellas further noted that in the course of European integration, labour law has emerged as a crucial branch of law that holds special significance in terms of employee protection.

The President of EDEKA, Professor Emeritus Konstantinos   Papadimitriou, expressed the Association’s gratitude for the special honour of participating in a scholarly event in Cyprus for the first time. He stressed the readiness of both countries to enhance cooperation in labour matters.

Representatives from the social partners were also present, including Mr. Michalis Antoniou, Director General of the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB), Mr. Andreas Matsas, Secretary General of the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation (SEK), and Ms. Sotiroulla Charalambous, Secretary General of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO). They congratulated the organisers of the initiative of the meeting and praised the contributions of Ms. Emilianides during her long and fruitful tenure in regulating labour relations and matters. They also highlighted the vital role of the social partners in the process of harmonising, implenting, and continuously reforming labour law. Lastly, the Vice President of the Nicosia Bar Association, Mr. Nikolaos Koursaris, delivered a greeting on behalf of the Association.

Professor Emeritus of AUTH Ioannis Koukiadis delivered the introductory speech on the topic of ‘European labour law’. He highlighted the importance of utilising new technologies in the correct manner and discussed the evolution of European labour law. In his speech,  Lawyer Polys Polyviou emphasised the primary principle of protecting human dignity, which must be upheld despite changing societal norms. He stressed the importance of safeguarding the right to strike and ensuring that employment terms are in line with the protection of human dignity.

The event proceeded with presentations on specific aspects of labour law, which related to the harmonisation of the Greek and the Cypriot legal orders with European labour law. During the first session, the topic of personal data in labour law was presented by the Professor Emeritus of EKPA Konstantinos Papadimitriou (Greece) and Assistant Professor of UNIC Dimitrios Koukiadis (Cyprus); the topic of discrimination and unfavourable treatment was analysed by Lawyer Dr Dimitrios Goulas (Greece), and by the Associate Dean of the School of Law of UNIC, Christina Ioannou (Cyprus).

The second session of the event focused first on the topic of employment contracts of definite duration. The session featured speeches from Lawyer Dr Konstantinos Rizos (Greece) and from the Dean of the School of Law of UNIC, Prof. Achilles C. Emilianides (Cyprus). The second topic discussed in the session was the balance between work and family life, which was presented by Prof. Angelos Stergiou of AUTH (Greece) and by Assistant Professor of UNIC Anna Plevri.

The third session centred around the transfer of undertakings and working time. As far as the former is concerned, this was presented by Assistant Professor of EKPA Dimitrios Ladas (Greece) and Assistant Professor of UNIC Konstantinos Dimarellis (Cyprus). In relation to the topic of working time, this was discussed by Assistant Professor of EKPA Ioannis Skandalis (Greece) and Lecturer of UNIC Georgios Tsaousis (Cyprus).

The event was sponsored by several prominent law firms, including Christophi & Associates LLC, Chryssafinis & Polyviou, Emilianides Katsaros, George Z. Georgiou & Associates LLC, Stavros Stavrinides LLC, as well as the Centre for Scientific Dialogue and Research (KEDE), Hippasus Publishing and Dikaiosyni portal.