Prison guard members of the Isotita union held protests over their pay grades for the 12th consecutive day on Friday, upping pressure on the government as they gathered outside the presidential palace.
Andreas Iosif, head of the president’s press office, receive their request and urged that differences could only be resolved through dialogue.
The core of the prison guards’ demands is that their civil service pay bracket be upgraded from A2 5-7 to A3 5-7.
They have argued that the justice ministry promised them such an upgrade, but Justice Minister Stephie Dracou on Tuesday stated that her office had merely passed on the demand for a discussion at the finance ministry.
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.
A back and forth has seen the justice ministry criticise the prison guards’ action and their characterisation of the situation.
The ministry on Monday called the strike “unnecessary, hasty and unjustified.”
Moreover, the ministry said that the Isotita union failed to respond to an invitation to meet its director for a meeting in the past week to further discuss their demands, instead opting for a strike.
“Any attempt to create impressions and a climate of extortion does not contribute to solving the problem nor is it acceptable to the ministry,” it added.
It also said that prison guards of the Pasydy union had opted to attend said meeting.
Branding the ministry’s statement as “mostly untruthful”, Isotita members on Monday had said that consultations had taken place and were completed by March 2022, “…with a promise to upgrade our salaries as has been done with the salaries of police officers and promotion of our request for a special allowance”.