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Paphos department store employees protest court closure order

ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗ ΔΙΑΜΑΡΤΥΡΙΑΣ ΕΡΓΑΖΟΜΕΝΩΝ ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟΥ ΚΕΝΤΡΟΥ ΕΠΙΔΟΣΗ ΥΠΟΜΝΗΜΑΤΟΣ
Employees protesting in Paphos on Monday

A large number of employees protested a court decision on Monday to shut down the Era Korivos department store in Paphos, which would see around 200 people losing their jobs.

The employees marched from the department store to the Paphos town Hall holding banners saying, “Give us back our jobs”, and “Hands off Korivos”, where they delivered a memo for the mayor and the municipal council.

Following a legal battle between the owners of the commercial centre and the Paphos municipality over changes to the building, which the authority said were “arbitrary”, the business was ordered by court in September to stop using the building. It gave the business two months to comply, unless it obtained a final permit by the Paphos municipality.

The shop is slated to shut down by November 14.

A representative of the employees, Constantina Sarafi, said their appeal to the municipality was “their last hope” calling on the local authority to prevent the shuttering of the store and leading more than 200 people into unemployment. She also said this would affect many suppliers.

In the memo, the employees express sorrow for this development and the fact that they will be left without a job around mid-November, which is close to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. They also said this would also affect tens of thousands of consumers.

The department store, they said, was licensed and has been operating as such since 2001 without any problems. The memo also refers to a cabinet decision of December 2018 authorising the Paphos municipality to issue an amended town planning permit to the Korivos Commercial Centre to operate as a department store.

Paphos municipality said last week the Era supermarket was operating illegally as a department store “with arbitrary large-scale additions, both indoors and in the parking lot, for which a criminal case is pending before the Paphos district court”.

It also called on the company, instead of using its employees to blackmail the municipality and its council, to assume its responsibilities by lifting the illegalities so that it can secure the necessary permit.

The company concerned, CTC Plc, on Monday called on the municipality to issue the necessary permit which the company is entitled to hold, accusing the local authority of refusal to grant the permit even though the town planning department had given the green light when asked back in 2016.

Ermes Department Stores PLC and Woolworth (Cyprus) Properties PLC said last month that the court ruling has been appealed. They also said the process regarding the building’s final approval was initiated a long time ago but was not completed, “for reasons that are not due to any fault on the part of our companies or disregard of our companies’ legal obligations, but to the handling of the entire issue on the part of the Paphos municipality.”

They said the Korivos Commercial Centre, where a mall as well as a commercially independent Superhome Centre DIY are operating, was officially inaugurated in 2001. The businesses there have been operating for about 20 years completely safely and smoothly the companies said.

 

 

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