By Stelios Orphanides
Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, informed the ministry of labour of its intention to declare a number of workers redundant as part of its reorganisation, a ministry official said.
“We received a letter from the Bank of Cyprus in which the bank said that it is planning to reduce its staff ,” Marina Ioannou-Hassapi, head of industrial relations at the ministry, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
The letter, addressed to Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, “does not list the names of affected workers,” she said, without specifying the number of workers who will be affected.
The Cyprus Business Mail understands that Bank of Cyprus informed the ministry of its intention ten days ago while a total of 193 workers who are likely to be affected have also been already notified, The bank plans to announce the termination of their employment next month. Both Bank of Cyprus and bank workers’ union ETYK declined to comment.
The bank said on March 24 that 75 of its more than 4,100 staff agreed to take a voluntary retirement scheme. The 75 workers account for 30 per cent of the intended staff reduction. The scheme presented to workers in March was an improved version of a proposal presented in February, which was less successful.
On April 5, the bank’s chief executive officer, John Patrick Hourican, ruled out offering workers additional incentives to retire voluntarily and added that the bank would seek to utilise other mechanisms in order to safeguard its profitability.
This is the third retirement scheme offered by Bank of Cyprus since the end of 2012. In 2013, a total of 1,577 workers opted for two separate retirement schemes, with the bulk of them doing so after the banking crisis, when the lender absorbed the operations and staff of Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki.