Cyprus Mail

Paphos bus strike lifted, ministry says (updated)

A bus strike over unpaid salaries in Paphos that had entered its fourth day was lifted Friday following negotiations, the transport ministry said.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, the ministry said the parties came to an agreement and drivers will return to work starting Saturday morning.

Operations manager Andreas Rodosthenous said earlier that all personnel employed by the Paphos transport organisation Osypa had been affected and took part in the strike.

“There is a meeting currently underway in Nicosia with the ministry of transport and we hope that there will be a swift resolution to the current situation and we can all return to work which is what we want,” he told the Cyprus Mail on Friday.

He added that the feeling created by the strike was not a pleasant one and that all of the staff, although not working, are still going daily to their jobs.

He said that Osypa signed a contract to provide bus services in 2010 and that it is valid for a ten year period.

Rodosthenos said the company informed employees it was unable to pay wages as it had not received the regular state subsidy, which fluctuates from month to month.

He added that the company’s 100 buses covering 300 or so routes are all out of action and parked at Osypa’s head office in Mesoyi and other designated parking areas around the town.

“Around 180 employees have been affected and it’s not the personnel’s fault, and we shouldn’t be affected,” he said.

Staff said they need assurances that they will be paid their salaries at the end of every month and that the situation won’t occur again.

The operations managers noted that similar incidents occurred in 2012 and 2013 and that the current problem has been rumbling on for around a year.

He said that problems had arisen over disagreements over finances, but that the situation was not yet clear.

He stressed that even in such instances staff shouldn’t be made to suffer.

Some reports say Osypa didn’t receive the subsidy due to overpayments in the past.

Thousands of customers have been affected – around 6,000 students and 16,000 other bus customers including, workers, tourists and villagers.

The Osypa employee said that personnel have the right to vote to take any measures they want concerning dynamic action if the outcome of Friday’s meeting is not satisfactory, he said.

“We are all hoping that the situation will be resolved though,” he said.

In December 2016, a similar situation arose after the company called on the state to actively assist in the renewal of the fleet as they said that around half were old and in need of replacing. It was finally resolved after a meeting with the transport minister.

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