Thousands of public transport users, mainly student, were without buses on Monday as wrangling continued behind the scenes between transport officials and bus companies.

Paphos bus company Osypa stopped working at 6am, threatening an indefinite work stoppage. Around 120 bus drivers, technicians and secretarial staff went on strike.

Some 5,000 pupils and 3,500 passengers are expected to be affected by the Paphos strike.

Spokesman for the bus company Christos Evangelos said the workers were protesting because the drivers have not been paid due to the government’s failure to pay this month’s financial contribution to the company.

He said the problem meant the November, December and 13th salaries would be delayed.

“Unfortunately the company is unable to pay the salaries of November and December and the 13th salary but these are problems that have not just arisen but are going on for years,” he said, calling on the transport ministry to find a solution. “We can’t just say 200 drivers will stay unpaid over the holidays”.

A similar scene was playing out with the Limassol bus company, Emel.

Emel employees said on Monday they were ready to continue their strike indefinitely. They said the company’s inability to pay November salaries was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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