Cyprus Mail

Teachers union wants co-op properties returned to them

File photo: Co-op bank


Primary teachers’ union Poed said on Thursday it was taking legal measures to have the real-state owned and managed by its cooperative savings fund, which fell to government hands after the demise of the Central Cooperative Bank (CCB), returned to them.

The union, along with secondary teachers’ Oelmek and Oltek said this week that all assets of the primary and secondary teachers’ cooperative savings funds had been unlawfully seized by the state after the closing down of the CCB.

These assets, that have been foreclosed for the past two years, are by law property of the cooperative savings funds and of their members, the unions said.

Head of Poed, Fylios Phylactou told state broadcaster CyBC radio on Thursday that the union would seek legal action to regain control of its assets.

He said the government ought to recognise “this fair and just demand” of the union, which is to find a way for the members of the co-op savings fund to regain control of this property.

This real estate, he said, belongs to the members of the savings fund since it has been acquired through the investment of profits yielded through their contributions.

“What bothers us very much is that we see this property that was snatched, to be foreclosed,” Phylactou said. “We see buildings in prime real estate areas to be foreclosed at a mere €500,000 and so forth.”

He said that the assets of the primary teachers’ cooperative savings fund were worth over €30m and include plots and buildings, among them a building on Makarios Avenue in central Nicosia that used to serve as the offices of the union, which has been evaluated at €18m.

The union, he said, would like to know the procedures that drove these assets right into the hands of the state.

Teachers are in cooperation with civil servants’ union Pasydy and other professional groups such as police and military officers that have their own cooperative savings funds.

As regards non-performing loans, he said that in the case of the teachers’ savings fund, this amounted to only one per cent and that arrangements were being made with the borrowers concerned.

The three unions had said earlier in the week that the state must, without further delay, return to the members of the healthy cooperative savings funds (teachers, public servants, police, military officers, etc.) all the assets belonging to them. Their seizure by the state was not justified neither by the capital adequacy they had nor by the way they were operating as they were recording profit each year, they said.

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