The Cyprus Workers Confederation-SEK, established in 1944, is one of the most important social partners in Cyprus within the framework of tripartite cooperation.
SEK represents through its affiliated unions, workers in all sectors of the country’s economic activity. The mass of members comes from the private sector, but SEK also represents the majority of workers in semi-governmental utilities and services and local authorities, as well as blue-collar public employees.
The main aims of SEK are to protect and safeguard the workers’ rights and interests through collective bargaining and to influence the appropriate bodies in forming labour and economic policies through social dialogue on national, sectoral and company level.
Moreover, SEK plays a leading role in facing and tackling the new challenges arising from the continuous introduction of new technology, globalisation and harmonization as a result of the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.
The fighting spirit of SEK and the responsible policies adopted, resulted in gaining the required respect both by the workers themselves, as well as by all the other social actors. It would not be an exaggeration to highlight the fact that the achievement of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 and the small economic miracle achieved following the Turkish invasion and occupation of 38% of the island in 1974, bare the unfolding stamp of SEK.
Currently SEK is a well structured, equipped and well functioning trade union organization, promoting and protecting the rights and interests of the workers in a successful and effective way, being free and independent from any political influences and democratic in its way of functioning and decision taking policy.
SEK is the guiding body, policy maker and coordinator of the free trade unions of Cyprus, in regard to terms of employment, conditions of work, wages and salaries etc.
SEK has seven affiliated Trade Federations (Industrial Employees Federation, Construction Workers, Miners and Allied Trades Federation, Government, Military and Public Services Employees Federation, Transport, Petroleum and Agricultural Employees Federation, Private Employees Federation, Semi Governmental Employees Federation, Hotel and Catering Employees Federation), five labour centers (consisting of the local unions of each Federation in the district) and a number of specialized departments in supporting its activities and promoting its aims.
The highest decision and policy making body of SEK is the Pancyprian Congress held once every four years. Second in line is the General Council, the Executive Committee and lastly the Secretariat. The General Secretary of SEK is elected directly by the Congress delegates, the Federation General Secretaries are elected by each Federation’s Congress, the District Secretaries by the Congress of each Labour Center and the same electoral procedure is followed for the election of the Secretaries and the Committees of local unions.
A constant and unchanged aim of the Cyprus Workers’ Cofederation- SEK, is the continuous improvement of the workers’ standard of living. Following a responsible and independent policy, away from any political or other obligations and aims, SEK since its establishment in 1944 is struggling for Freedom, Justice, Equality and Social Advancement.
SEK is a founder member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), currently renamed to ITUC (following a merge with WCL) and an affiliated member to the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) since 1981.
The active participation of SEK in these international/ European structures, provide the opportunity to promote the interests of all workers employed in Cyprus in a more direct, positive and effective way.