By Constantinos Psillides
Around 50 Cyprus Airways employees protested outside the presidential palace on Tuesday, demanding that they are fully compensated for being let go and that the government secures their future employment.
The protest was uneventful, unlike the one staged outside the Finance Ministry on Monday where four people were injured.
Representatives from all the CY unions met with president Nicos Anastasiades at their request. Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos issued a statement following the meeting saying that the president showed understanding for the CY staff and assured them that the employees will receive full benefits, including their provident funds.
The CY provident fund currently registers a deficit of €14 million, which the state will provide, according to Papadopoulos.
“The government will also do everything in its power to ensure that most of the staff is hired by the new airline,” said Papadopoulos.
The government announced its intention to set up a new airline with the brand logo and name – which the state bought off Cyprus Airways for €1.2 million – in collaboration with the private sector.
Finance Minister Harris Georgiades has promised he will put the matter up for discussion during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Communications minister Marios Demetriades stated last week that the initiative for the new airline is still in its infancy.
The Finance Minister had already responded to the issue of CY staff being employed by the new airline, saying on Friday that “the government cannot force a private company to hire anyone”.
While waiting for their representatives to wrap up with the meeting, the protesters cut off the street outside the presidential palace, causing a traffic jam.
Meanwhile, a cameraman that was slightly injured during Monday’s violent protests appears to have suffered injuries far more serious than it was originally reported. He cameraman will have to undergo knee surgery and will be absent from work for a period of six months. The cameraman was injured on the back of his leg when he found himself in the middle of a scuffle by protesters who tried to rush the police-guarded ministry entrance.