Paphos buses to be hit by strike on Wednesday

Employees of the Paphos bus company Osypa on Tuesday announced a two-hour warning strike for Wednesday over the government’s decision to withhold the state’s contribution to the company to compensate for mutually-acknowledged earlier overpayments.

The company’s 105 buses will remain parked from 12:30 to 2:30pm as drivers, mechanics and administrative staff protest non-payment of their October wages, which the company has blamed on the government’s decision.

The strike will mostly affect pupils using public transport to get home from school.

A total €3.5 million has been overpaid to the company and the two sides have agreed that this amount must be deducted from the state’s contribution to Osypa going forward, the state broadcaster reported on Tuesday.

While acknowledging the overpayments and the need for the money to be withheld, the company argued that such withholding cannot be effected in the winter period, when use of public transport is less than in the summer months when tourists use the buses.

“This is why the state actually contributes more money in the winter months,” a company source said.

“There is no sense in enforcing cuts during the winter months, when the company’s cost is higher and revenues are lower.”

Osypa employees and management have warned that should they not see their wages by the end of the week they will be staging an indefinite strike.

A strike at Osypa was narrowly averted at the turn of last year, when the transport ministry refused to assume the full cost of renewing about half of the company’s fleet.