Bank employees union Etyk on Tuesday said that after an arbitration process through the ministry of labour it has ensured that Bank of Cyprus staff are reimbursed the full travel expenses they’re entitled to.

The union had effectively accused Bank of Cyprus of ‘cheating’ on its employees by not paying them the agreed rate for travel expenses when using their own car for work-related purposes.

According to a statement, under an agreement between Etyk and the banks, employees using their own car for work are entitled to reimbursement. For ‘in-town’ travel, employees are entitled to €10 per trip (round-trip). For ‘out-of-town’ travel, the reimbursement is based on the kilometres traveled, and is the same rate as that given to civil servants.

Etyk said that Bank of Cyprus cheated on the ‘out-of-town’ reimbursement, giving its staff a rate lower than that applicable under the agreement. This had been going on since September 2021.

The union said it held a meeting with the bank’s head of human resources to address the issue. The bank’s position was that it had been paying the (lower) rate for some time, so it considered that a precedent was created.

“These allegations by the bank did not hold up, they were provocative and in no way acceptable, since that would mean violating the existing agreements as well as the Code of Industrial Relations, which is why we immediately reported this to the ministry of labour,” Etyk said.

At a subsequent meeting chaired by the labour ministry, the union said, they convinced the ministry of their position.

The ministry’s decision “censured the bank for its blatant violation of the existing agreements, calling on the bank to take remedial action, and retroactively as of September 1, 2021.”

Consequently, said Etyk, as of now Bank of Cyprus must pay employees the full agreed rate for ‘out-of-town’ travel, but also reimburse staff for the reduced payments it made since September 2021.

The union urged Bank of Cyprus staff to request full reimbursement.