Cyprus Mail

Larnaca port workers to protest against decision to kick out energy giants (Update: residents rejoice)

Larnaca port workers will on Thursday stage a protest against their municipality’s decision to refuse an extension to the operation of oil and gas support facilities.

In a joint statement, three trade unions said their affected members – who are worried about their jobs – will gather outside Larnaca port at 8.30am.

They will subsequently head out to Evropi Square and then to the Larnaca town hall, handing the mayor a memo with their demands.

Next the port workers will travel by bus to the transport ministry in Nicosia, aiming to deliver a memo to the transport minister.

The current permit for the Larnaca port oil and gas facilities expires in August, but the government may overrule the municipality and grant an extension.

On the opposite end, a citizens group representing residents of Larnaca, Aradippou and Krasas, hailed the municipality’s decision.

In a statement, the group said they oppose the transformation of their town and district into a heavy industrial zone.

The group said it would continue to fight so that the facilities of Halliburton and Schlumberger are also moved from their current location, a site in Aradippou-Kalo Horio which is designated for light industry.

“We expect that the ministry and therefore the state will respect the decision of Larnaca, a decision which represents the majority of the city and district citizens,” residents said in an announcement.

“We declare that we will continue to strive to maintain our city’s touristic character and for it to be developed accordingly. Our vision is for Larnaca to become a popular tourist destination, a vision that is not consistent with the conversion of its port into an industrial zone”.

The statement added that they had been asking the government a strategic plan for the exploitation of hydrocarbons for two years. “We expected that for such an important issue, the state would show the appropriate seriousness and make sure those industries were sited in areas where they would not put residents ‘health and safety at risk.”

The statement added that Halliburton and Schlumberger were operating “irregularly and illegally” because the 2013 Larnaca Plan, did not provide for heavy industry factories in that area.

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