Three people were taken to hospital on Friday, including the head of the Nicosia bus company OSEL after scuffles broke out the company’s main offices in the Makedonitissa area of the capital, police said.
OSEL boss Iordanis Iordanous, according to CyBC, was hit with a fire extinguisher and was in serious condition. The fracas happened during the afternoon when a group of 12-15 people who had been fired on Thursday went to the offices where a fight broke out.
OSEL shareholder Tasos Michaelides, who has been in conflict with the company in recent weeks told the Cyprus Mail that the scuffles broke out when the dismissed staff members went to retrieve their personal belongings. “He [Iordanous] fired 12 people vindictively, without any reasons, just because they’re my relatives because they come from the same village as me,” Michaelides said.
“When the people who were laid off went to up to Iordanous and ask the reasons why they were laid off, two men who were with him, attacked them, and they reciprocated,” Michaelides said. He added that it was Iordanous’ party that attacked first.
“No matter what differences may exist between me and the company, they must not affect the employees,” Michaelides said, “Twelve families lost their livelihood out of spite”.
He said that the case is now being handled by the police.
OSEL has been plagued by allegations of mismanagement and cooking the books – made by Michaelides – who this month parked several buses outside the presidential palace disrupting rural services for days.
Other company shareholders told the Cyprus Mail that around 15 people entered the offices in the early afternoon and started attacking the employees.
OSEL itself firmly pointed the finger at Michaelides.
In an announcement it condemned in the strongest possible terms “the acts of violence, the threats and bullying, against the company’s chairman, Iordanous, and the company’s staff by Michaelides and his relatives who were egged on by him”.
OSEL called on police to provide immediate protection for the staff of the company and its property and to “arrest all the perpetrators of these sad events”.
The violent episodes, OSEL’s announcement said, “starring Michaelides” resulted in the injury of Iordanous and members of OSEL staff. “We expect the police to immediately arrest the mastermind of these events and his accomplices”.
It the current events were the culmination of the “arbitrariness and audacity of Michaelides and his relatives who behave as common thugs”.
“They refuse to allow the enforcement of court orders and retain buses that are the property of OSEL. Now they reached the point where they make violent attacks against the staff of OSEL,” it said.
“Tasos Michaelides and his accomplices believe that we are not living in a well-governed state and that their actions will continue without consequences”, the announcement said.
Police confirmed the scuffles and said that a number of people who were given letters of employment termination, went to the OSEL offices but did not give any further information as to who the perpetrators were. Reports Friday night said arrest warrants were imminent.