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Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot women call for elimination of discrimination 

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot women expressed on Wednesday their will for a federal solution in Cyprus and vowed to continue their struggle to resolve problems working women are faced with.

Representatives from Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot Unions, member of the World Federation of Trade Unions came together in a conference entitled “The place of the working woman in the two communities today,” which was organised in the buffer zone, in Nicosia.

A joint declaration approved by the conference refers to the need to intensify common actions to deal with problems faced by working women, such as deregulated employment relations, the abolition of collective contracts, an increase of flexible and informal types of employment, the perpetuation of the pay gap, an increase in female unemployment, shrinking available infrastructure to support the working family, an incomplete manner of dealing with violence in the family and the work place, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

The women call on both communities to support and protect female employment in jobs with dignity and on the basis of collective contracts, the establishment of sufficient and accessible programmes for the safe keeping and education of children of all ages, putting in place mechanisms to deal with violence, sexual harassment and exploitation, an increase of the participation of women in all trade union levels, the creation of a common education system which will combat nationalism, chauvinism, racism and discrimination.

They also state they will continue the common struggle for a bi-communal, bi-zonal solution.

In an address Pancyprian Labour Federation (PEO) Secretary General Pambis Kyritsis referred to the Cyprus problem noting that a repeat of the Cyprus reunification talks at the point where they had reached in Crans – Montana in order to have a positive result as soon as possible should constitute an immediate priority.

“Clarity and consistency are necessary in seeking a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation as a solution,” he said, noting that a creative approach is also necessary in order to best take advantage of a framework put forward by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Crans – Montana.

“We will never compromise with the notion of partition,” Kyritsis stressed.

Addressing the conference on behalf of the PEO Women’s Office, Marina Koukou said that women constitute 48% of the total labour force, 52% of unemployed, concerning mostly women aged 30 – 50.

According to Koukou women are underrepresented in decision making positions, while the better paid executive posts are held mainly by men, who are also promoted more often.

The pay gap stands today at 14%, pregnant women continue to be fired, while incidents of sexual harassment or violence in the work place in particular were women immigrants are concerned are on the rise, she added.

DEV Is President Hasan Felek spoke of a demographic alteration due to the policy promoted by Ankara and of a recent stronger imposition of changes in a political, social, cultural and religious level. He also expressed his will to reunify our country, adding that “we persistently ask for a without conditions resumption of negotiations.”

On her part Sevgul Uludag on behalf of DEV Is women’s office said that the Cyprus problem is a common problem for everyone who lives in Cyprus and referred to the two unions’ common struggle for the creation of a peace culture and for increasing trust between the two communities.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The latest round of talks took place in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana but failed to yield any results. UN-led talks aim at reuniting Cyprus, under a federal roof.

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