Thousands of Cypriot public servants went on a three-hour strike on Tuesday to protest a proposed two-year salary freeze and on another strike on Thursday against the new austerity measures to be imposed.
The strike affected hospitals, flights from and to Cyprus airport and has also threatened to disrupt local elections on December 18. The government, however, assured that the elections will take place.
Cyprus is not used in witnessing such industrial action. This strike has been the most massive within the past 10 years. Public servants decided to stop work without any warning just before the parliament was summoned to approve the 2012 budget cuts imposed by the EU.
According to Financial Mirror.com, Cyprus’s broad public sector employs about 72,000 people, including semi-government corporations which did not join Thursday’s strike. Cyprus has the highest public sector payroll in the euro zone as a proportion of output, costing 15.4 percent of GDP.
Cyprus’ economy has suffered a severe blast in the past year due to recession, its banking sector’s exposure to the Greek debt crisis and its long time absence from the markets.