The real reason for Giorgos Maltezos resignation as head of the prison guard branch of Isotita were threats he received against his life and his family, the labour union said on Thursday.

“The resigned head of the board has the full trust of his colleagues, as ascertained by the board of directors after communication with all members of the branch,” Isotita said in a written statement, which came a day after Maltezos’ resignation.

The union said there would be no further statements on the matter.

Maltezos resigned on Wednesday after receiving severe criticism, both from prison guards and from prisoners, for statements he made without consulting with all of the prison guard members of the union where he spoke of a distortion of the real situation in the prisons.

Contesting this, the prisons directorate told Cybc that he had been sending them messages of support.

At the same time prisoners called on the Isotita board to suspend him, saying he “is an instigator, guide and informer of the police and what he has reported is untrue and has nothing to do with reality”.

In an announcement issued though lawyer Alexandros Clerides, they said that Maltezos “is possessed by a complex” and that “he wants us to return to the olden days of punishment and misery”.

This prompted Maltezos to resign, with a statement saying he was doing it “to restore stability to our work, to the union, and to my family”.

As head of the board for the prison guards branch of Isotita, Maltezos had been one of the leading figures of the indefinite strike that started in September over pay disputes.

The prison guard members had requested a special allowance of €240, as well as an upgrade to their paygrade from A2-5-7 to A3-5-7, and their simultaneous placement to combined ranks based on their actual years of service.

Instead, they were offered a benefit of €120, which they said was too low and does not reflect or compensate for the special conditions of the profession.

In late October the affected members decided to suspend their indefinite strike “as a sign of goodwill” following a proposal by President Nicos Anastasiades that aimed to satisfy their demands.

The strike was suspended January 13 next year to give the opportunity for dialogue.

But if there is no satisfactory process by then, prison guards said they will resume their strike.