The applications procedure to recruit 3,000 contract soldiers for the National Guard will begin on Friday June 3, and end on June 24, Politis reported on Sunday. The information was later confirmed by Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides in an written announcment.
The paper said that the cabinet approved the conditions for the recruitment and the terms of employment at its last meeting. The move is directly linked to the reduction of military service for conscripts to 14 months and authorities also hope it will be an incentive for unemployed young men to stay in Cyprus rather than emigrating.
Under the terms the contract soldiers will receive 1,127 euros a month plus a 13th salary. The contracts will be initially for a year but can be renewed three times for three-year stints up to a maximum of 10 years service. On leaving the soldiers can earn a bonus linked to salary and time served provided they complete three in and half years in total.
Working hours will be the same as National Guard permanent staff, ie 7am to 2pm, five days a week but it doesn’t exclude duty shifts. Holiday per year will number 20 – the EU minimum – plus paid 28 sick days which could be extended for another 14 days on army doctor’s orders. Medical treatment in state facilities will be provided to them and their wives and children. According to Politis, their uniforms will also be provided free, as will NG bus transportation to army camps.
It also said the contract soldiers would be able to enhance their job skills during service with reduced fees of up to 50 per cent at private universities with which the defence ministry already has cooperation agreements fo afternoon and night classes.
Only Cypriots who have completed their military service may apply and they must be a maximum of 32 year old by June 18, have no criminal record, and have completed high school. Physically, they must have a body mass index of 18-30. Full medical will also be carried out before anyone is finally hired.
Those hired after three weeks of training will get the rank of corporal, and can be promoted to the rank of sergeant when appropriate and according to the regulations, Politis said, but this does not mean a salary increase.
Applications can be submitted via internet or to defence ministry recruitment offices in all towns. Information can obtained from the special phone line 1430.
Fokaides told CyBC that if enough Cypriots were not found to make up the 3,000, they would open the process to Greek nationals. He also said that his ministry was working on new legislation that would allow serving conscripts, and women to apply.