NICOSIA – Thirty flights from and to Cyprus were disrupted on Monday when pilots of national carrier Cyprus Airways CAIR.CY went on strike over job conditions.
Pilots want the reintroduction of a collective agreement covering matters such as pay increases and working hours that was suspended by the company in January 2005.
The airline, which is majority state controlled, says it cannot afford the pilots’ demands.
“We urge the (pilots union) to assess its responsibilities and halt any action which could jeopardise the prospect of the company’s survival,” Cyprus Airways said in a statement.
Cyprus Airways said 2,400 passengers were affected by the four-hour work stoppage by pilots. All flights were rescheduled, the airline said.
The carrier underwent a broad restructuring in 2005, shedding about a fifth of its workforce and enforcing stringent cost cutting throughout the airline.
Most other unions signed up to the changes, but pilots challenged the decision by management to effectively put collective bargaining agreements on hold.
“This is about reintroduction of agreements the company suspended in 2005 related to our working environment,” said George Charalambous, a representative of pilots union PASIPI.
Many pilots took the company to court for introducing a scheme of scaled pay cuts, and verdicts are expected early next year, Charalambous said.