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Society

Sudden Airport Staff Strike Strands Thousands on Cyprus

PAPHOS – A last-second strike by staff at Paphos International Airport on Cyprus caused a frenzy and trapped thousands of travelers on the island on Nov. 2 during a five-hour work stoppage that left people furious.

The action has affected more than 20 flights, with some being diverted to Larnaca International Airport and others cancelled, with travelers put up in hotels, said the British newspaper The Daily Mail.

Hermes Airports manages and controls the two international airports, urged people traveling both two and from Paphos to check for updates from their airline, the strike catching some people in airlines waiting to take off.

Jet2, which flies out of the airport, said that as a result of the ‘unforeseen’ strike, the airline was unable to depart from Paphos or offload baggage, the newspaper reported of the event, workers angry about coming layoffs.

“Although this is completely outside of our control, our teams are doing everything they can to look after customers,” a spokesperson for the airline tweeted about the frenzy that came as tourists had returned in big numbers during the waning COVID-19 pandemic.

Another person said on Twitter that their parents were left standing outside the airport for more than two hours. “No communication from jet2,’ she said. ‘Can’t even sit down and my Dad has had three heart attacks in the past.”

As the strike continued, the Transport Ministry, trade unions and employers met to try and resolve the situation, which came about after 156 employees were given redundancy letters.

It could take a week to sort out though, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on his social media after the meeting, adding that 28 workers said they wanted to stay on the job.

Larnaca District Secretary of the trade union Peo Yiorgos Ioulianos said that the new company taking over did not transfer all of the pre-existing employees over, which led to the work stoppage.

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