Issues related to developments in the economy, small and medium-sized enterprises, digital transformation and the labour market were discussed at meetings held between October 23 – 24, 2018, between the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) and the European Commission in Cyprus in the framework of the European Semester.
OEB was represented at the meetings by the Director of Business Development & Economic Affairs, Mr. Antonis Frangoudis and the Industrial Relations & Social Policy Officer, Mr. Polyvios Polyviou.
In particular, the main issues discussed were:
• Economic developments and how they shape the business environment and affect the economic outlook, challenges and prospects of the economy.
• The problems faced by small and medium-sized enterprises in relation to: Access to finance, both by financial institutions and due to lack of other financial tools, timely diagnosis, restructuring and support when faced with problems, and lack of staff with the appropriate skills.
• The digital transformation of the economy and the steps to be taken to successfully implement it.
• Social dialogue, institutionalized consultation procedures between the social partners and the successful system of industrial relations in Cyprus.
• The need to reduce bureaucracy and accelerate reforms in the public sector.
• Combating undeclared work to protect businesses from unfair competition and OEB’s contribution to this.
• The problems of finding domestic and / or community staff in specific areas of economic activity and specialties, and the need to modernize the Strategy for Employing Third-Country Nationals.
• The need to regulate the right to strike in essential services in an attempt to protect the economy and society.
• The increase in labour costs due to the increase in employers’ contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, the imminent increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA – ATA) and the start of contributions to the National Health Insurance System, that lead to the need to support businesses through the introduction of tax relief.