Bank of Cyprus employees who opted for redundancy three months ago and have not yet received their provident funds protested yesterday outside the House of Representatives and Finance Ministry.
Some 630 former BoC staff are demanding the immediate release of the frozen funds which have also been through the ‘haircut’ of deposits over €100,000 with the exact percentage being 47.5%.
“They now tell us these funds which are the biggest chunk of our money will be blocked for two years (because of prevailing bank restrictions). And this makes us angry, very angry,” protest coordinator Savvas Philipou told journalists.
“Because, (collapsed) Laiki Bank colleagues who left the same day as we did and under the same redundancy scheme, have received their funds in cash last Monday,” he added.
The protesters were holding placards declaring “Government-Central Bank-Banks Union Etyk: Deception, Manipulation, Connivance” and “We want promises to be kept”.
Philippou also said: “We feel that we have fallen from grace, we used to be kings and now we are beggars…we are not children of a lesser god, are we?”
A combined 1,200 BoC and Laiki employees had opted for early retirement by end of August – the deadline - which came one month after the ailing lender exited resolution status.
The targeted number for the controversial voluntary redundancy plan was 1000 - estimated to save up to €80 million annually and prove pivotal for the survival of the lender.
After Eurogroup’s harsh decisions In March, its numbers swelled to about 5,700 after it took on 2,400 from Laiki – the island’s second biggest lender.
Very few employees had initially taken up the early retirement offer with the main thorn being the issue of provident funds. The protesters who also left a memo for Finance Minister Haris Georgiades accused him of not returning any of their phone calls or pleas for a meeting. The House Finance Committee was also charged with indifference over their cries for help.