Employees of the company operating Nicosia and Larnaca buses went on indefinite strike on Friday demanding their employer revoke early redundancies and resolve a number of problems.

In a written statement, they said that with the support of Peo and Sek trade union confederations they had decided on industrial action effective from midday on Friday.

The employees said that the drivers’ working schedule was compressed and in many cases without the required breaks. Tachographs do not operate at a number of buses, while checks from the road transport department are inadequate.

Cypriot employees at many of the operation’s departments have been sidelined and work is being done by staff brought in from abroad – more than 80 drivers and about 20 auxiliary employees have left since the new company took over, they said. Recently, the company had informed the labour ministry and the trade union that it would dismiss 36 employees.

Sek and Peo referred the issue to the labour relations department of the ministry, however according to the announcement, the company went ahead unilaterally today and dismissed the staff, even though the procedure is still before the ministry.

According to the announcement, the company had tried to convince employees to accept the voluntary early retirement plans, claiming that they had been agreed between the ministry and the union.

“Ignoring the proposal of the mediation service submitted to the two sides, the company went ahead unilaterally with illegal dismissals, violating labour institutions in Cyprus,” the announcement added.

The workers said they had no other choice than to stage a spontaneous, indefinite strike to demand that dismissals are revoked and problems facing employees are addressed.