Unpaid salaries spark outrage in Nicosia
This file photo shows fira during an earlier protest in front of the town hall in Nicosia, Turkish Cyprus. Hürriyet photoEmployees in Turkish Cyprus’ Nicosia municipality staged protests in front of the town hall and the ruling party offices, demanding their four-month-late salaries. They set fires in front of the offices, clashed with the police and some were detained, reported Turkish broadcaster NTV on its website.
On Dec. 24 the workers, led by the Municipality Laborer Union (BES), had given 48 hours’ time to keep its payment pledge to the Nicosia Turkish Municipality, which is facing debt problems. The grace period ended on Dec. 26, but the parties have not reached a solution.
Municipality employees initiated their actions by putting Mayor Cemal Bulutoğluları’s car up for sale. After heading to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the outraged protesting employees marched on the Prime Ministry and Assembly, spilling the trash barrels on the Nicosia streets.
The protesting group demonstrated against the municipality also by setting a fire and shouting slogans in front of the town hall and the ruling National Unity Party building. Protestors shattered the doors and windows of the ruling party’s central building, which ended with police intervention. Some were slightly injured or detained during the clash with police.
The union threatened the government with continuing shocking demonstrations if no progress is made about payments. “We’re at the end of the road now. The Prime Ministry shall solve our problems after this point. They will, or will leave,” said Savaş Bozkurt, the head of BES union. He added that they were set to break into the places where the prime minister and ministries celebrate New Year’s Eve, claiming that they have no right to entertain themselves while the workers starve, in his statement to daily Milliyet.
Ministers of Cabinet couldn’t come up with any solution about the problem during their five-hour meeting on Dec. 26, which also caused more frustration among workers.
Prime Minister İrsen Küçük said the efforts to find a solution continued, but he accused the workers of attacking the National Unity Party building and throwing garbage on the streets intentionally.
Meanwhile President Derviş Eroğlu urged both sides of the clash to solve this problem with mutual understanding immediately, suggesting the Labor and Social Security Ministry as a possible mediator, as reported by Cyprus Newspaper.