Bus company Emel will be resuming normal business on Friday, ending a strike over a dispute over unpaid March wages.
The announcement was made late on Thursday by labour minister Zeta Emilianidou after hours-long talks with bus company reps and trade union leaders in Nicosia.
Bus drivers had called an ‘indefinite strike’ starting April 2 due to non-payment on time of their March wages. As it happened, the strike lasted two days – Tuesday and Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the transport ministry said it had paid a monthly sum to Emel, sufficient to cover the wages of the workers.
The bus drivers saw transport minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou, and later met with the labour minister.
Anastasiadou said she had already spoken to the company on the issue of salaries and said they should be paid immediately, since “non-payment is a wrongful act”.
She was speaking after receiving a delegation of the employees and their unions in her office. They had travelled in four buses from the Limassol district to protest that their March salaries have not been paid and workers have still not received outstanding sums from benefit cuts in place since 2014 due to the financial crisis.
Protesting outside the transport and labour ministries, the workers were holding banners reading “No to unilateral decisions” and “The payment of salaries is our inalienable right.”
The bus drivers have been on strike since Tuesday, which created problems for public transport, especially for students.
Bus strikes have been on and off across the island since late last year over non-payment of wages on time. In each case, the strikes were soon called off after the intervention of the transport ministry which mediated to bridge the differences between striking employees and bus companies.
The contracts between the government and public transport companies expire in July 2020.