House legal affairs committee chairman Nicos Tornaritis said on Wednesday that the demands of prison guards, who earlier moved their ongoing demo to the Presidential Palace calling for pay rises, deserve to be met.

Following a meeting of the committee, Tornaritis said a letter was sent to the justice and finance ministries, urging them both to raise prison guards’ salaries in light of the recent strikes and protests.

“Their demands are fair and must be respected,” Tornaritis said.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou echoed his words, adding that his party “considers raising prison guards’ salaries and upgrading their status an absolute necessity, due to the difficulties posed by their special duties and by the discrimination they suffer.”

Prison guard members of Isotita union are also protesting against the rejection of a request for a special allowance to be paid to them even after it was recommended by the finance ministry.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Isotita’s Prodromos Christofi said the strike “will continue indefinitely until the prison guards’ demands are met or until the government commits to settle the dispute with a written statement.”

“Considering the unique nature of our jobs, we feel that prison guards are underpaid,” Christofi said.

Justice Minister Stephie Dracou said on Tuesday that there was never a commitment to upgrade pay scales for prison guards, adding that “any blackmailing attempt does not contribute to solving the problem nor is it acceptable to the ministry”

“We do not consider our strike a blackmail attempt,” Christofi said during the protest. “On the contrary, we are exercising our constitutional rights.

“The fact is that prison guards are massively underpaid for their actual contribution to society and considering the soul-crushing nature of their jobs, as well as for the risks encountered daily when carrying out their duties.

“Our main objective is to ensure decent living conditions for us and for our families,” he said, adding that prison guards are the second-lowest paid civil servants in Cyprus.

Christofi finally added that the protest will continue on Thursday outside Parliament during the plenary session.

“We need the state to firmly intervene in the matter and act decisively to solve all the issues we presented,” he concluded.