Cyprus Mail

Limassol bus workers threaten new 48-hour strike

More than 250 employees working for Limassol’s public bus company, Emel, who went on a 24-work stoppage on Tuesday said their next move would be a 48-hour strike unless their slashed benefits were restored within the next week.

The strike, which began at 7.30am affected around 6,000 students and many members of the public who rely on public transportation.

Trade unions Sek and Peo said in an announcement that the employees do not demand pay raises but would like to see their benefits that were slashed in 2014 due to the economic crisis restored.  The company reportedly says it is unable to comply due to financial problems.

“Full restoration of concessions is an obligation of the company,” the unions said.

Employees will give next week “to those who would like to intervene”, so that all necessary steps are taken to resolve the labour dispute.

After that deadline, employees are determined to go on a 48-hour strike, the unions said. The date of next strike is to be announced next week.

“After four years of concessions on behalf of the drivers, through memorandums of agreement, they are now demanding that the previous collective agreement is restored, as per their right,” the Limassol district’s Sek representative of the transportations branch, Yiannis Tsouris, said.

He added that the trade unions are always open to dialogue but that they were left with no other choice after the “employers’ side has ignored for so many months the letters and reminders we have sent about the end of this agreement”.

Peo representative Christos Christofi said that the company maintains they are unable to restore benefits citing slashed state subsidy, as “the government has reduced its (the company’s) cost per kilometre”.

The company, he said, in its turn, is expecting the transport ministry to fulfil its financial obligations and this leads to “a vicious cycle”.

The employees apologised to members of the public for the inconvenience for which, they said, they are not to blame.



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