March 26 - Thousands of employees of the beleaguered Bank of Cyprus occupied its headquarters in Nicosia Tuesday to protest a restructuring deal with the country’s second largest bank, over fears the merger could mean losing their jobs. Mana Rabiee reports.
Fearing for their jobs. Thousands of employees of the beleaguered Bank of Cyprus occupied its headquarters in Nicosia Tuesday. The country's biggest commercial bank plans to absorb the second largest bank, Laiki, also known as Cyprus Popular Bank, and now workers fear they will lose their jobs in the merger. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) STAFF MEMBER, ANDREAS VASSILIOU, SAYING: "The workers of the Bank of Cyprus have shown once more that they are demanding their rights. We are carrying out a very dignified and peaceful protest and it is only to secure the rights of the employees of the Bank of Cyprus." The bank restructuring is part of a painful bailout deal the government struck with the European Union. Cyprus is trying to save its financial sector after it ran into trouble when its investments in neighboring Greece went sour. But the leadership here has provided little information on the bailout, or the bank restructuring, leaving workers confused about their future. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) STAFF MEMBER, PANICOS STELIANOU, SAYING: "If their only goal right from the start was to destroy the banking sector of Cyprus then it looks like they found the way. After Popular Bank it will be us and even worse after that." The chairman of the Bank of Cyprus resigned Tuesday, becoming an early casualty of the financial turmoil that has gripped this east Mediterranean island nation.