Cyprus Mail

FBME workers, administrator close to ending strike

The labour dispute that erupted at FBME Bank, after the Central Bank triggered the deposits protection scheme ten days ago, may be nearing an end as dismissed and striking workers are engaged in talks with the special administrator that may allow a number of them to return to work.

“We are close to bridging the gap separating the two sides,” Stephanos Skordis, the lawyer who represents the majority of the workers said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Skordis declined to reveal further details as the matter was “sensitive”. He added that while the two sides are discussing remaining “details,” they have not reached an agreement in principle.

The Cyprus Business Mail understands that the two sides engaged in talks after the Central Bank of Cyprus acted as a mediator, which may lead to the signing of a “memorandum of understanding.”

Special administrator Chris Iacovides, appointed by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which revoked the Tanzanian lender’s license in December after U.S. authorities describe as being “of primary money laundering concern,” dismissed 136 workers on March 31, and decided to keep the remaining 30 workers to help pay clients their deposits. Workers demanded the immediate payment of their thirteenth salary, holiday, notice until dismissal, and protection of pregnant employees or those in maternity leave. They also want the immediate payment of their bonus and loyalty schemes for 2013 and 2014.

On Thursday, Iacovides demanded the return of assets from the workers, including the access codes to the bank’s customer accounts containing up to €1.4bn in deposits, and ruled out the immediate payment of the workers’ bonus loyalty scheme.

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