Cyprus bank workers to stage work stoppage Thursday

Cyprus’s bank workers union called a two-hour work stoppage for Thursday, saying the pensions of its members at the island’s two largest banks, hit by huge losses under an international bailout deal, were not protected.

The union, ETYK, said the pension funds of workers in Popular Bank and Bank of Cyprus were at risk, as were the pension funds of other institutions deposited in those banks.

“Our efforts so far and our mobilisations have not fully removed this risk,» the union, which represents 11,000 bank workers, said in a statement.

The work stoppage was called for 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm, and the workers will then march on parliament, the union said.

Under a 10 billion euro loan accord from the International Monetary Fund and the EU, Cyprus was forced to split Popular Bank’s assets into a «good» and «bad» bank.

The authorities have also forced heavy losses on uninsured depositors in Bank of Cyprus, the island’s largest lender, which will gradually take over accounts at Popular Bank.

Cyprus’s banks were closed for two weeks while the bailout deal was being negotiated, reopening on March 28. Strict currency restrictions are in place to prevent a run on deposits.