In its effort to help its members as best it can, SEK provides counselling of a legal nature in co-operation with well known lawyers, who have a good knowledge of labour legislation.
At a time when the labour market is changing, either as a result of the arrival of multi-national companies or buying out and merges of companies, seeking legal advice strengthens and establishes the status of workers.
The members of SEK, who need such help, can apply to their trade union representatives, who visit their workplaces, or to the local SEK labour offices.
The Information Department deals with the effective use of information through SEK and its member organisations. Today, there are four computer departments at a district level.
The Department uses Pentium III computer systems and hardware, and Windows NT and Windows 20000 software, with Oracle and Dbase databases, basic accounting software, office organisation and publishing programmes etc.
Internal programmes are used for the Member and Employer Registrar, the Health Fund, Collective Bargaining, the Cooperative Bank, the Ship Registrar etc.
Finally, the Department is linked to the Internet and provides officers with research abilities and e-mail facilities.
ALL CYPRUS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION OF WORKERS (PASEK)
PASEK was established in 1990 in order to coordinate all SEK sports activities and to be the official sports carrier of SEK in Cyprus and abroad.
The founding of PASEK was necessary due to the rapid development of SEK sports activities and the Movement's policy to upgrade sports for its members and their children.
The fundamental aims of PASEK are to cultivate sports among members, provide the opportunity for members to participate in games, to organise games at a national and international level, and to form state policy on developing massive sports and training programmes, as a means for healthy activities and improving the bodily and spiritual capacity of citizens.
PASEK is recognised by the Cyprus Sports Organisation and participates in all the Organisation's programmes, which express its aims.
It is also a member of the International Workers' Sports Confederation, known internationally as CSIT, and participates in all its activities.
PASEK has organised three CSIT championships in Cyprus, which were very successful, with the participation of hundreds of athletes from many countries of the world.
It also participates in many championships abroad, with teams comprising members or their children.
Sports events organised by PASEK in Cyprus cover most of the popular games and are open to all who wish to participate.
Pensioners' Department (All-Cyprus Pensioners' Committee - PESYS)
The SEK Pensioners' Department was established to solve the problems and protect the rights of retired persons. Among these, are the improvement of the Social Security Law, the exemption from various taxes, better health coverage, and the creation of better living conditions for a more comfortable life during their final years.
SEK organises trips and pilgrimages annually, both in Cyprus and abroad. Furthermore, pensioners make use of the SEK camps for eight days a year.
Department of Safety, Health and Enviroment
Since October 2003, SEK established a new department related to health and safety issues at workplace. The aims of the Department include:
- The provision of technical advise to the management and members of SEK on issues related to health and safety
- The promotion of participation of employees in the committees related to health and safety at workplaces
- The enhancement of health and safety culture at workplace
- The implementation of projects related to health, safety and environmental issues
- The establishment of collaborations with relevant departments in other European trade unions as well as educational institutes
In addition, the Department supports the health and safety seminars that are organized by the SEK Trade Union's School and are addressed to the Union's members. These seminars are performed in collaboration with the educational section of the Department of Labor Inspection, of the Cyprus Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance, the national focal point for health and safety. Members of the Department participate actively in meetings with other social partners and the governmental authorities where issues related to health and safety at workplace are discussed.
Some of the activities of the Department since its establishment include:
- The implementation of the project entitled "Development of a comprehensive training course for assessing the risk at workplace, "project-TRIA", being funded by the European Union within the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci programme, 2004-2007.
- The participation in the project entitled "Good practices: Topic Center for the New Member States for Health and Safety", being funded by the European Union, 2004.
- The implementation of the project entitled "Youth and the enlarged European Union, project-YOUTH", being funded by the European Union within the framework of the "Support for the discussions on the future of the European Union within cross-industry trade unions in 2004" programme, 2004-2005.
- The publication of an information leaflet for the establishment of the safety committees at workplace. The leaflet was distributed to more than 10000 employees in Cyprus.
Trade Union School
The Trade Union School, i.e. the ad hoc department for educating and training SEK officers and members, started operating in January 1979. Its establishment was the result of the need to continuously train SEK trade unionists, materialising the aims set down and the priority given to education matters by the leadership of SEK. Assistance from fraternal trade unions abroad has been valuable, as well as help offered by the Greek trade unions GSEE and the Asian-American Free Labour Institute (AAFLI).
In its course, the Trade Union School was established as a necessary institution in the Movement, intensifying and broadening programmes offered, covering a wide spectrum of trade union, economic, social and political topics. Today, the opportunity is given to more and more officers and members of the Movement to participate in the programmes offered by the School.
At the same time, the School continues its activities to successfully face the challenges of the 21st century and the new order, in view of procedures for Cyprus' full accession to the European Union. It also upgrades the content of its programmes and its educational technology, with contemporary methods and technical equipment. In its seminars, the School uses appropriate halls in the SEK Labour Centres in all towns, while specialised programmes addressed to officers take place at the SEK camps. The new SEK headquarters in Nicosia include special areas with appropriate facilities, meeting all necessary educational standards to carry out regional and international seminars of the School, providing simultaneous translation into four different languages.
The Trade Union School has its own team of educators. Specialised lecturers from Cyprus, Greece (in cooperation with GSEE), Europe (in cooperation with the European Trade Union College - ETUCO), and various trade union organisations members of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), give their own lectures at the School's seminars, when the topics are such.
In the international sector and especially the European, the School is very active and maintains permanent contacts and concrete cooperation with the educational departments and institutions of fraternal trade unions abroad. The School is a founding member of ETUCO and its director Gregoris Gregoriades is a permanent member of the ETUC Education Council, under the auspices of which ETUCO operates, and is a member of the preparatory and educational material publishing team of ETUCO.
Given the special importance SEK gives to educating and training its officers and members at all levels, the School continues its development aims, utilising the opportunities offered locally and internationally, especially in Europe.
Working Women's Department
The Working Women's Department was established in 1965 and since 1980 has been staffed with permanent personnel. It is an undivided part of SEK. Head of the Department is its Secretary, Maria Tappa-Kolokotroni.
The Department operates under Regulations, which were approved by the SEK General Council. Acting within the framework set out in the Regulations and the general principles of the SEK Statute, the Department developed intense activity in order to materialise women's labour goals, the acknowledgement and upgrading of women, equality and equal treatment, equal pay, parental leave, protection of maternity, respect of the dignity of women in the workplace, and generally women's rightful status in society and the solving of women workers' special problems.
The Department's activities are not restricted to the trade union sector. They are wider and cover the social and cultural sector. The Department has already organised numerous events, which aim at offering special moments to the social group.
Furthermore, the Department is active in cultivating awareness, educating and training members, and other events, which stand out for their quality, massive participation and excellent programming, both at a district and all-Cyprus level, in cooperation with all District Departments.
The Department has also developed relations with European and international trade unions. It has been elected as a member of the ETUC and ICFTU Women's Departments Executive Committees, of the ETUC Euro-Mediterranean Committee, and the ETUC Legal Committee.
The Working Youth Department of SEK was established in 1984 and aims at studying, promoting and solving problems faced by working youth and establishing its status in the social group.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned goal, the Department organises seminars, educational lectures, campaigns, cultural events, summer school, and other activities addressed to young persons.
The Department is a member of and participates in the activities of the Cyprus Youth Council for International Cooperation (CYCIC), the Cyprus Youth Organisation, and the Youth of the European Trade Union Confederation.