Lorry drivers decided to continue refraining from delivering and picking up containers for three more days and, give Eurogate, the container cargo operator at the Limassol port, more time to prepare before they resume their service, a spokesman of Povek said.
“We will go to the port again on Monday because the company said that it will be then ready to service us,” Kyriacos Moustakas, an official at Povek, an umbrella organisation representing small firms and professionals, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.
“Tomorrow they won’t go because they have no faith into what the company said,” he said. “They promised the same things three times and this makes us worry”.
Moustakas, who was commenting after he held talks with representatives of Eurogate, the Cyprus Ports Authority and Minister of Transport Marios Demetriades, said that hauliers will return on Monday to work and will “endure” the situation until Friday next week before re-evaluating the situation.
He added that also on Monday lorry drivers, who had to accept long waiting hours queueing at the port after Eurogate assumed the responsibility for the container operations in late January, will test the company’s intention to compensate truck drivers for delays, as it had agreed on Wednesday.
“According to what’s been agreed they will have to pay compensation,” Moustakas said. “If Eurogate reneges, it will be much worse”.
Moustakas’s comments came hours after the resignation of the head of the truck drivers’ union, Giorgos Charalambous over the decision of his union’s members to reject an agreement with Eurogate to compensate hauliers for time lost while waiting at the port. The agreement was made possible after Eurogate accepted a proposal of the drivers.
The Povek spokesman added that the decision of the lorry drivers not to pick up or deliver containers at the port does not extend to sensitive goods such as fruits and vegetables.
Eurogate was not immediately available for comment.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which on Wednesday said that as a result of the chaos at the Limassol port, companies were running out of stock and raw material, said on Thursday that the hauliers’ stance was “unacceptable”.
The ongoing refusal of hauliers to cooperate is irresponsible and harms their client companies, their workers and consumers, the business group continued.
The Chamber added that if hauliers fail to immediately resume their work, its members will seek to be compensated for damages caused “by their ongoing strike” and asked President Nicos Anastasiades, who on Wednesday said he might personally intervene, to do so.