Larnaca and Paphos airport ground handling companies must respect and abide by collective agreements signed by the government and the unions, regarding the terms and conditions of employment and remuneration of workers, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Tuesday.

He was commenting after consultations were held at ministry of transport on Monday following strike measures last weekend by ground staff at Paphos airport over the extension of airport concessions.

A new ground handling company is expected to take over the service of EasyJet and other airlines.

EasyJet, which operates many flights from the UK mainly to Paphos airport but also to Larnaca, had until recently been served by LGS Handling Ltd, which intends to lay off 70 workers at Larnaca airport and another 40 at Paphos airport.

According to workers’ union Sek, based on the existing regulations, the new ground handling company has an obligation to absorb the laid-off staff.

“Ground handling companies are required to fill all their permanent and temporary positions after workers were made redundant as a consequence of layoffs,” Karousos said in a statement.

“For this purpose, neither the interruption of the period of service by the employees, nor any change in their overall remuneration or employment conditions shall be allowed.”