There are currently approximately 6,665 unemployed individuals in the District of Paphos at the moment according to the latest data.
Paphos SEK union boss Neophytos Xenophontos, says that these numbers correspond to 17% of the labour potential of the district, and are considerably higher than the 12% unemployment rate in other districts.
“It appears that the general improvement of the economy has not benefited the Paphos district yet”, said Xenophontos.
What could help Paphos is the revitalisation of the hotel industry in the district, says Xenophontos.
“Unfortunately, even in this sector the situation is problematic when it shouldn’t be, due to the stance of the hoteliers on how they want employees in the sector to be working.”
Xenophontos explained: “The salaries offered and the contracts given, along with the terms of employment, make hotel work an undesirable profession.”
“The crisis period has shown our true colours,” said Xenophontos. “There is lack of cooperation, there is exploitation that almost resembles slave labour in many hotels of our district. These phenomena must be fought against.”
Xenophontos says that for the situation to be reversed, hoteliers must accept collective agreements and pay salaries that correspond to reality.
Compared to 2016, says the SEK Paphos head, unemployment in the district is at a similar level in spite of the increase in tourism.
Most alarming says Xenophontos is the fact that unemployment strikes the young most fiercely, with university graduates seeing unemployment that surpasses 20%.
He said that one measure that would help alleviate the situation is the relocation of the Higher Hotel Institute (AXIK) to Paphos.
But what Paphos needs most, says Xenophontos, is development projects that create permanent job positions, rather than for only five or six months as is usually the case.
Xenophontos says the construction sector has serious problems and has yet to rebound to its pre-crisis levels, offering stable employment.
“We are waiting for the initiation of the grand marina project, and we are still not seeing developments”, said Xenophontos, adding that it is of great significance both for job creation and upgrading the tourist product.