Α brief historical profile of SEK
The Cyprus Workers Confederation-SEK, established in1944, is one of the most important social partners in Cyprus within the framework of tripartite cooperation.
SEK is for a number of years the most massive, powerful and influential trade union organization in Cyprus. The Confederation represents through its affiliated unions, workers in a11 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 ίη 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.
SEK known at the time as the "New" ΟΓ "Free Trade Unions of Cyprus" was established during a very difficult period in Cyprus and its founding became necessary since most of the independent unions became under the control of the communist party and took active part in politics as a division of the party.
It was therefore natural that the working people of Cyprus who believed ίη genuine trade unionism, freedom and democracy, would by no means accept the fact that they were being used to further ideas and political aims which were contrary to their own. For these reasons, free democratic workers went ahead and founded in 1943 the Free Unions, known at the time as New Trade Unions.
The New Trade Unions were autonomous organizations of workers in each branch of their District and on the 29th of October 1944 representatives from 19 Unions from the Districts of Nicosia, Limassol and Famagusta met and agreed to establish the Cyprus Workers' Confederation – SEK.
It should be stressed out that those first years were very difficult both as a result of the aggressive attitude against SEK put forward by the communist controlled unions, as well as due to the obstacles set by the then colonial Government, in an attempt to tackle the declared intention of SEK to struggle for the right to self determination for the Cypriot people.
Nevertheless, SEK overcame these problems and continued to struggle for the improvement of wages and working conditions, as well as for the introduction of social benefits for .the working class.
Indeed, 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 achievements and social benefits gained following the independence and the establishment 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.
Today, SEK is a well structured, equipped and well functional 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.