Oltchim protest continues. Negotiations on privatisation resumed

The taking over of the Arpechim refinery – the main subject of the negotiation taking place between PP-DD President Dan Diaconescu’s representatives and OPSPI.

The protest of the Ramnicu Valcea-based Oltchim plant ended without incidents on Thursday at noon and the employees went back to their posts, promising to gather again in front of the administrative building today. The over 400 employees of the plant demand the payment of their salaries and funds for restarting production. The leader of Oltchim workers, Corneliu Cernev, informed the employees on the talks at the Ministry of Economy Wednesday evening, telling them that, if the plant resumed work at 65 per cent of its capacity, there would also be some restructuring. The leader of Oltchim employees told the press that the collective bargaining agreement had to be observed and that many of the workers, especially those approaching retirement, were ready to go if they received payment in compensation after restructuring. ‘The staff will be redistributed, no one would be jobless’, Cernev said.E also noted that he had informed Oltchim workers that, on Thursday, they would receive their meal vouchers due for July, after they had received their pay for their annual leave on Wednesday, to be followed by August salaries. The workers at Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea however say they are determined to continue protest every day until the plant is restarted and they have received all their overdue salaries and, after October 1, if the situation is still not resolved, they would also protest in Bucharest. The decree will be passed and the money will reach the company accounts most likely at the end of the week, said Economy Minister Daniel Chitoiu, after seeing the union representatives from Oltchim at the Ministry of Economy. He added that, after adopting the normative act, the authorities would also notify the state aid to the European Commission. The minister noted the money would be given as a loan to be repaid in no more than six months, with interest calculated at regular market rates.

Protection safeguards’ against crediting banks

Dan Diaconescu’s lawyers say they have taken ‘protection safeguards’ for the situation where Oltchim’s crediting banks may wish to freeze the accounts of the plant over debt owed. Daniel Fenechiu, one of Diaconescu’s legal representatives, added that the talks with OPSPI officials on Thursday had been in connection with Diaconescu’s request for safeguards that the Oltchim creditors owned by the Ministry of Economy would not file for the company’s insolvency after the sale of the shares.  In the meantime, Chimcomplex, owned by businessman Stefan Vuza, yesterday made an offer to OPSPI for buying the approximately EUR 150 M Electrica SA receivable from Oltchim.



Isarescu: IMF has not demanded finalisation of privatisation

The BNR governor told a press conference yesterday that a failure with the privatisation of Oltchim would not send out a good signal to investors, but reminded that the IMF had not imposed the condition that the privatisation of the plant should be completed, but only that it should be commenced, especially in an adverse international economic context. Asked if a failure in the current sale process might automatically lead to the winding up of Oltchim, under the agreement with the IMF, Isarescu said, from his point of view, the resumption of the privatisation process was still possible. ‘It depends on what we mean by failure and this period of transition’, Isarescu said.


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