By George Psyllides
SOME 280 employees in the co-operative sector have opted to take an early retirement scheme, a figure that is close to the target set initially, it emerged on Tuesday.
Citing unnamed sources, the Cyprus News Agency said some 280 co-op workers had decided to take a voluntary retirement scheme offered by the management as part of the sector’s restructuring.
The deadline for acceptance of the scheme expired on Tuesday.
The plan was to cut the sector’s 3,000 workers by 10 per cent, with the minimum number of departures being 250 and the maximum 300.
It mostly targeted staff over 45-year-old but did not exclude younger workers who wished to leave.
Those leaving will receive up to €104,000.
Nicolas Hadjiyiannis, chairman of the Central Co-operative Bank said the “successful completion of the voluntary retirement plan paved the way for the implementation of the programme to achieve savings of up to €300 million between 2014 and 2018.”
The expenditure rationalisation programme provides for operation on 30 per cent less spending.
The co-operative movement is currently undergoing what is perhaps the biggest overhaul in its history, as it comes under the ownership of the state.
As part of the island’s €10 billion international bailout, co-ops will receive €1.5 billion in taxpayers’ money to recapitalise.
The sector has been reduced in size through mergers, which were concluded last month.
As part of the restructure, the island’s 93 co-operatives merged into 18