Bank employees in Cyprus have taken part in a strike over fears that pensions are at risk under the country’s crippling international bailout agreement.
According to AFP, bank employees stopped work for two hours on Thursday and gathered outside the parliament building in the capital Nicosia over concerns that pension funds at the Laiki Bank and the Bank of Cyprus will not be protected under the bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB).
The protesters carried banners reading, “Wake up Cyprus,” “Hands off our jobs, hands off our provident funds” and “We are paying for mistakes of bankers,” asking for protection against possible layoffs and benefit cuts in the face of looming austerity measures, demanded by the island country’s international creditors.
The brief strike came despite reassurances by President Nicos Anastasiades last week that every effort would be made to preserve pension funds at the two banks in the eye of the financial storm.
On Wednesday, the country’s new finance minister vowed to do “whatever it takes” to right the economy and warned of “difficult days ahead.”