Cyprus Mail

FBME workers, administrator making progress in negotiations


Stephanos Skordis, the lawyer representing most dismissed and striking workers at FBME Bank, said that negotiations with the special administrator Chris Iacovides are progressing well and may allow the remaining employees return to their work on Monday.

“We have made sufficient progress,” Skordis said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “Still, negotiations continue”.

Skordis added that the two sides are likely to reach an agreement on Friday which will allow staff who downed tools on April 11, to return to work “unless something goes wrong”.

Special administrator Iacovides, appointed by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which revoked the Tanzanian lender’s licence in December after U.S. authorities described FBME as being “of primary money laundering concern,” dismissed 136 workers on March 31, and decided to keep the remaining 30 employees to help the pay-out of up to €1.4bn in customer deposits. Workers demanded the immediate payment of their thirteenth salary, holiday, notice until dismissal, and protection of pregnant employees or those on maternity leave. They also want the immediate payment of their bonus and loyalty schemes for 2013 and 2014.

A week ago, 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.

Skordis who said on Tuesday that he expected a final agreement by Wednesday, declined to comment on the reasons that negotiations dragged on, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

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