NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- Cyprus air traffic controllers will walk off the job for four hours on Friday to protest stalled negotiations over an ongoing pay dispute, officials said.
Cyprus Air Traffic Controllers' Union boss Giorgos Georgiou said the work stoppage between 12 p.m to 4.00 p.m. local time is in response to what he says was the government's unwillingness to address the union's grievances over salary cuts before agreeing on ways to lessen the impact of future strike action.
He said air traffic controllers will stage another three walkouts of equal duration by the middle of this month unless the government changes tack.
Airport spokesman Adamos Aspris said Thursday's strike will affect 20 flights to and from the island's two international airports.
Air traffic controllers insist they should be exempt from austerity measures aimed at curtailing spending on the bloated public sector. They say their salaries don't burden the state budget because they come from levies airlines pay to use Cyprus-controlled airspace.
Communications Minister Efthymios Flourentzou said the walkout is hurting the economy and urged air traffic controllers to resume talks on all issues that concern them, including overtime pay.
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the dispute should be settled through arbitration.