Bus drivers working for Osypa in Paphos are descending on the capital Tuesday morning to demand their holiday bonus, with the government calling on the company to stick to the rules and not victimize its own staff.
Following a number of warnings over the last few days, bus drivers from Paphos declared there was no positive development regarding their grievances and decided to stay on strike and launch a demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.
They are expected to drive their buses outside the Presidential Palace, calling on the government, as well as the company and trade unions, to resolve a wage dispute that would enable back payments for November including salary and holiday bonus for December.
Officials from the bus company say they are not receiving sufficient state subsidies to pay their drivers, while the Transport Ministry insists Osypa is failing to comply with all the requirements to qualify for state subsidies.
On Monday night, the ministry issued a statement saying that Osypa has received state subsidies for October and November. The government further called on the company not to victimize its own drivers and staff.
The drivers say that getting paid for November would not be enough to get back to work, citing uncertainty over their Christmas bonus, known as the “thirteenth salary” of the year enjoyed for many years as well as by many union workers in Cyprus.
A holiday bonus is a contractual agreement between employers and workers who either belong to a union or unionize at the time of hiring or later on. Even though a 13th salary was widely practiced in the past, many workers in the private sector do not receive a holiday bonus.
The government maintains that the company has an obligation to negotiate and clarify employment terms with its drivers, while union workers and bus drivers are calling on President Nicos Anastasiades to weigh in.