By Angelos Anastasiou
CYPRUS Airways Pilots’ union PASYPI has “repeatedly hindered” the troubled carrier’s efforts to survive, four other CY unions have said, lambasting the pilots for their confrontational stance towards management’s efforts to reduce payroll cost.
The latest instalment of the Cyprus Airways saga was triggered by last month’s executive board decision to reduce the company’s contribution to employees’ provident fund from 8.0 per cent to 1.0 per cent for a period of 15 months, in order to save an expected €4 million for the duration of the scheme.
The decision was accepted by most employee unions but was challenged by PASYPI, which deemed the measure “unilateral and illegal” and warned of legal action if it were not revoked, arguing that it only serves to cover the losses to the rest of the staff’s fund – some €20 million – which were incurred as a result of mismanagement.
The pilots argued that the airline’s executive board should proceed to full implementation of the agreed restructuring plan, and accused the company of keeping excess staff despite a reduction to the fleet and number of flights – as a result of party politics, they claim.
“If the state or the political parties want to keep more staff or to supplement the rest of the staff’s fund, then the state and the parties should pay for it”, PASYPI chairman Petros Souppouris said. “Pilots cannot accept further cuts.”
In a written statement, four CY employee unions rejected PASYPI’s arguments, saying that the company’s survival warranted a collective effort.
“There has been no mismanagement in employees’ provident fund”, the statement read. “The shortfall is due to the company’s failure to pay its contribution due to the dire financial state.”
The employees also lambasted the pilots’ separatist attitude, arguing that the “company should be faced as one body” and that everyone’s focus should be on ensuring that it remains a going concern.
“Threats of lawsuits against the company also hinder the process of engaging a strategic investor,” the statement said. “This is an ongoing effort that should be met with full support, not blatant subversion.”
“Unfortunately we are saddened to note that this is not the first time that our pilot colleagues act in a manner that hinders, instead of facilitating, the company’s efforts of survival.”