THE LABOUR Inspection Department yesterday carried out measurements of the waves emitted by metal detectors and x-ray machines used at Larnaca airport to check workers, who claim the equipment could be harmful to their health.
“Until at least today, the measurements done, not only in Cyprus but internationally, have shown that as regards the archway … and the hand-luggage x-ray machine … the levels of radiation are at least 1000 times lower than the reference levels provided for by international regulations,” Communications Minister Erato Kozakou Markoullis said.
Around 60 air traffic controllers, meteorological service personnel, telecommunications technicians and others claim their daily exposure to the electromagnetic waves emitted by archways were dangerous.
The workers have also complained that they are also forced to put their food through the x-ray machine.
They also suggested that past measurements had not been carried out with the proper equipment and did not rule out going on strike if the authorities did not agree for them to undergo manual searches instead, which was their right.
The workers say the EU allowed frisking as an alternative to metal detectors.
The minister said she does not share the workers’ doubts over the measurements but since they wanted an independent check, she had asked the University of Cyprus to carry out additional measurements last Friday.
“I will have these results as well as today’s within the next few days,” the minister said.
The unions were not present during the measurements yesterday.
The two sides are scheduled to meet this morning in a bid to resolve the matter — the same date set by the unions for members to decide whether to go on strike.
“I want to concentrate on a positive approach because certainly our approach as a ministry and government would be to avoid any measures …which could put the state’s economy in jeopardy especially during a sensitive period,” Markoullis said.
The Cyprus Mail understands that the unions are open to dialogue but their basic argument would be the right to choose between metal detectors and manual searches – and why it is not granted to them — as opposed to the health hazard, which is not high up the list.
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