By George Psyllides
CYPRUS Airways (CY) unions warned yesterday they could strike over the government’s refusal to afford gratuitous compensation to employees who will be made redundant in the latest effort to save the ailing national carrier.
Unions were informed yesterday that the company cannot afford paying employees compensation, over and above what they will receive from the provident and redundancy funds.
The unions accused the government of backtracking on a previous agreement.
“Workers have no other choice but to consider all the legal measures in order to implement the agreement,” PEO official Antonis Neofytou said.
Strike measures would also be considered, he added, accusing the government of blackmailing the airline into making people redundant without any compensation.
SEK representative Marios Dionisiou said they were informed that the agreement, struck two months ago, could not be implemented.
“The CY chairman made it clear that the company cannot pay the gratuitous compensation,” Dionisiou said.
CY said yesterday it would be laying off 420 staff immediately, in addition to recent redundancies, to save some €2.0 million per month.
“Any further delay would have led the company to closure with all the negative consequences for Cyprus’ air travel, tourism, and the country’s economy in general,” the company said.
The pilots’ union PASYPI said it was sad that a large number of people were going to lose their jobs but implementing the restructuring plan would enable the airline to recover and become a viable and profitable enterprise.
PASYPI representative Chrysanthos Hadjichrysanthou said however that the unions will try to implement the agreement on the compensations struck with the government.