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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-08-04

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, August 4, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Only Popular Bank affected by strike, says union
  • [02] Strike forces water plant to cut off supplies
  • [03] Suspect 'had threatened to kill murder victim'
  • [04] Two sought after nightclub stabbing
  • [05] Theft suspect remanded
  • [06] Work permits to be extended to six years

  • [01] Only Popular Bank affected by strike, says union

    By George Psyllides

    BANK Employees' Trade Union (ETYK) yesterday clarified that the strike measures it had taken at the bank computing centres concerned only the Popular Bank and not Bank of Cyprus (BoC).

    ETYK stressed that it had decided on strike action because the bank had violated the existing collective agreement and not because of the deadlock in the negotiations for its renewal.

    In a written statement yesterday, ETYK said that it had informed the director of the labour ministry's mediation service about the planned action and he in turn assured the union that “ETYK was allowed to take immediate measures wherever there was a blatant violation of an agreement, irrespective of the fact that the 10-day warning period had not elapsed”.

    The Bank Employers' Association (BEA) accused ETYK on Friday of violating the industrial relations code by taking measures the required 10 days had elapsed.

    As a result, the BEA decided that the two main banks, Popular and BoC, would remain shut tomorrow.

    “An announcement concerning their operation after this date will be issued later on,” the BEA said in a press announcement yesterday.

    ETYK yesterday accused the BEA of “conscientiously misinforming” the public by claiming that strike measures had been taken at both Popular and BoC.

    “Upholding the agreements is a matter of principle and if we accept their violation, then the whole system would be overturned and we will enter a period of anarchy,” ETYK said.

    The two sides have been at loggerheads for the past couple of weeks over the conditions of the collective agreements.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Strike forces water plant to cut off supplies

    By Alex Mita

    THE STRIKE at the Pelagos desalination plant in Larnaca forced the management to shut it down yesterday morning, cutting off supply from the plant to the Larnaca, Nicosia and Famagusta districts.

    The 22-man workforce employed at the plant that processes seawater into drinking water have been on strike since Tuesday after negotiations between the Israeli company that owns the plant and union members ended in deadlock.

    Until yesterday, the workers had been picketing the entrance to the plant in 12-hour shifts.

    Plant manager Phanos Pantechis told the Sunday Mail that the decision to shut down was taken after workers blockaded the entrance to the plant, which had left the management with no alternative.

    “There are no operational problems with the plant,” Pantechis said. “But the plant entrance has been blocked by the workers and this has created a security issue, since no one can enter to monitor the equipment.”

    Pantechis said that because of the strike, the Water Board would now have to reactivate water purification plants at Chirokitia, Kornos, and Tersefanou in order to process water collected in reservoirs.

    According to the PEO union, which represents 17 out of the 22 strikers, the dispute centres on their members' unwillingness to enter into personal contracts with their employers. The strikers warned that they would continue their industrial action indefinitely, unless the employer signs a collective agreement with their unions.

    Tempers flared on Friday night when the company attempted to bring three Israelis to the plant. Pantechis denied that the three men were workers. He said they were brought to the plant for training, and that they would be taken to a new plant under construction in Israel.

    When the Israelis entered the plant, the strikers reported them to the Immigration Service, who detained the men and confined them to their hotel.

    The police were called again yesterday, this time by the company, who demanded that the workers hand over one of the electronic controllers that opened the gates, but the workers claimed the man who had the controller wasn't there.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Suspect 'had threatened to kill murder victim'

    A 25-year-old man was remanded in custody for eight days yesterday in connection with the murder of a community councillor at the village of Kilani in the Limassol District.

    Constantinos Hadjicharalambous was arrested just hours after a hooded gunman shot dead 38-year-old Demetris Demetriou as he was getting into his car on Friday morning.

    Demetriou had just sat in the driver's seat of his Pajero when he was shot in the shoulder by someone who had apparently been lying in wait behind the wall of an abandoned house nearby.

    People who heard the shot and rushed to the scene told police that Demetriou had managed to get out of his car when the gunman jumped the wall, approached him and shot him in the head at almost point-blank range.

    The court heard yesterday that the suspect had assaulted Demetriou's father in the village coffee shop during an argument on July 23.

    When police arrived at the scene, Demetriou had reportedly called for the suspect's punishment, prompting Hadjicharalambous to try and attack him and threaten in public to kill him.

    The police investigator told the court that the suspect had allegedly told various individuals that since he was going to jail, he was going to kill a few people.

    In his testimony the suspect denied being involved in the murder. He has refused to give a blood sample for testing and has also refused to undergo a medical examination.

    Police said they searched the suspect's home and found a military issue G3 automatic, thought to be the type of weapon used in the shooting, belonging to Hadjicharalambous' father, as well as a hood similar to the one worn by the killer.

    Both the gun and the hood are currently undergoing tests, police said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Two sought after nightclub stabbing

    POLICE are seeking two 19-year-olds for questioning in connection with a stabbing incident outside a Nicosia nightclub yesterday.

    Police said the two men allegedly assaulted and injured Andreas Soteriou, 22, outside a nightclub in Engomi at 3am.

    The two suspects allegedly stabbed Soteriou in the abdomen and got into a car. But while trying to drive away, they reportedly hit Soteriou and other bystanders with their car.

    Soteriou was rushed to hospital where he was treated and kept in for observation.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Theft suspect remanded

    A 30-year-old woman from the Larnaca District was remanded in custody yesterday for four days in connection with the theft of £2,000 from her employer.

    Elena Panayiotou, from Xylotymbou, was arrested on Friday following a report to police by her employer, a grill house owner, that £2,000 had gone missing from his briefcase.

    Police who searched Panayiotou's house said they found £300 under a couch.

    A selection of brand new ladies' clothing was also found, they said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Work permits to be extended to six years

    AN AD HOC ministerial committee has decided to extend foreign workers' residence and work permits from four to six years and to abolish the current age limit restrictions on foreign students from non-European Union countries.

    The head of the committee, Interior Minister Andreas Panayiotou, said that up to now foreign workers have only been allowed to live and work on the island for four years.

    When that term expired, the interior minister could extend their permits for an additional two years under certain conditions, Panayiotou said.

    In light of this, the committee decided to extend the permits to six years for all foreign workers with no exceptions, though no further extension would be granted by any minister or the cabinet.

    Panayiotou added that specialised foreign workers would be granted an extra two-month period after the six years were up to train the new workers who have come to replace them.

    The committee also decided to abolish age limits concerning foreign students from non-EU countries.

    Panayiotou said that up to now the age limit for degree students was 26 years of age while the ceiling for graduate students was the age of 40.

    “Anyone wishing to study in Cyprus, at any college or the university, is free to apply and if they secure entry and prove that they have the necessary financial means, then they will be accepted,” Panayiotou said.

    But he added that every possible measure would be taken to prevent foreigners from coming to Cyprus as students and staying as illegal workers.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002


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