The Transport Ministry is considering a tough response to the ongoing bus strike in Paphos, including a possible order for requisition to put an end to the saga affecting thousands just before student exams.
Bus drivers, who went on strike in early May saying they would not start their engines until they got paid, had agree to postpone measures temporarily for a few days on the promise they would get their salary for April.
But on Tuesday, employee representatives of the Pafos Transport Organization (OSYPA) said nobody got paid and took the matter to an emergency meeting.
The decision was made to resume the strike, which could affect an estimate 6,000 students who use public transport and another 16,000 people who use public transportation.
Sources say a request for more money is not likely to be approved, which could leave few options for the minister, including issuing an order of requisition for 105 buses
Public transportation is more critical in May as students prepare for exams later this month.
Transport Minister Vasiliki Anastasiades has asked the Legal Services Department to brief her on a variety of options, including a possible requisition of the bus fleet, in order for the bus routes to resume.
Local media also reported that a request was made from the ministry’s permanent secretary’s office, seeking €500,000 for the company, in addition to the €700,000 paid earlier this year.
But if such a payment goes through, it would constitute an overpayment through the summer, with the company seeking more money in the autumn as part of state subsidies and the government potentially trying to push back to reclaim some of the money.
Sources say the request for more money is not likely to be approved, which could leave few options for the minister, including issuing an order of requisition for 105 buses to provide service to about 15,000 passengers.
In the meantime, drivers say they are not being treated fairly either by the government or the company.
OSYPA, which took over in 2010 and acquired a new fleet over the years, has been negotiating with the government on additional state subsidies in order to pay drivers.
The Transport Ministry said it has been making efforts to settle the dispute at the soonest possible and have buses restart their routes.