By Evie Andreou
SOME 350 tourists at a Limassol beach hotel, the Arsinoe’s Hotel, had to be relocated yesterday after a double whammy hit to their holidays when staff went on an indefinite strike, and the power was cut to the premises due to payment arrears.
The 60 staff members, who picketed the entrance to the hotel said they had not been paid for almost seven months.
“The hotel has been deserted,” said Neofytos Ttiminis, the PEO union district secretary for hotel workers.
Staff had gone on a two-hour warning strike last week asking for their wages from the last six months and were waiting for the decision of the Cooperative Central Bank on the fate of the hotel, which is in liquidation.
They were holding out in case the hotel could be leased to another party with whom they could stay on and work out a compromise, Ttiminis said told the Cyprus Mail.
Ttiminis told the Cyprus News Agency earlier that tour operators had been told not to bring any more tourists to the hotel as of September 15 and to find accommodation elsewhere for those who had already booked in the meantime.
He added that since the bank decided to proceed with the liquidation and not wait for a new investor, the employees had no other choice than to go on a strike and demand their wages.
But even if that problem had been resolved, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus cut off power to the hotel yesterday, making it impossible for it to operate.
“Even if employees went back to work there is no electricity,” Ttiminis said.
“We are sorry for the way things turned out today, because we are at the peak of the tourist season, and while Limassol is almost overbooked from tourists, at this hotel unit employees remain unpaid more than six months,” he added.
Michalis Frangou, secretary of the hotel and recreation centres employees of the SEK workers’ union, Limassol branch, said that both unions and employees were willing to help the employers during the difficult economic period the hotel was in.
“But unfortunately the situation was nothing like it was presented by them, they hid information saying that the hotel would be able to survive, resulting today in the hotel being unable to cope and its employees remaining unpaid,” Frangou said.
He added that their goal is not to create problems to the hotel industry but for the public to realise that these situations needed to end.