Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Fleas drive out staff at Cyprus state broadcaster

Staff at Cyprus's state broadcaster are refusing to use the radio and television studios because they claim the ageing building is making them ill.

News reporters have been working from a single room in the broadcaster's car park for the past week, after a number of people were taken to hospital for a variety of ailments and parts of the station were sealed off.

Complaints about the state of the buildings at the publicly funded Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) have been around for years, but the present situation appears unprecedented in its duration. Staffers have reported vomiting, dizzy spells and skin irritations. "They haven't given us the air quality readings yet, or provided written confirmation that the building is safe to work in by the broadcaster or the Labour Ministry," a member of staff said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Management and the board of the corporation have acknowledged problems in the ageing building and have said they are planning to construct new premises.

One of CyBC's radio stations stopped broadcasting hourly news bulletins yesterday, while its flagship TV channel did not broadcast during its lunchtime news slot.

Journalists had also briefly walked off the job last week over conditions at the station, which included an infestation of fleas and dead cats trapped in air vents.