Protests go on at the plant, workers are angry because they didn’t receive their salaries. Five workers went on hunger strike.
Oltchim cannot be privatised and even insolvency cannot solve the situation of this company, Euro Insol official Remus Borza – also the judiciary administrator of Hidroelectrica – said Tuesday, during a conference on the role of banks in the restructuring of companies, quoted by money.ro and Agerpres. Oltchim will go insolvent in January 2013 at latest, after the elections, and the judiciary administrator will certainly not be Euro Insol, Borza added. He mentioned that Oltchim is artificially kept in operation, like “a patient in clinical death,” because of electoral reasons.Oltchim should be restructured, as insolvency presupposes difficulties in keeping the plant operational, and the right solution for restructuring will be found following the collaboration between banks and the state, Remus Vulpescu, advisor to the minister of Economy said during the same event. “Oltchim would have much trouble to remain operational,” Vulpescu added. He explained that the state must assume the real problems of the plant, as the private sector is willing to contribute solving them. Sources quoted by EVZ say that the Ponta government intends to grant TISE the free management of the company, in the conditions of possible fiscal concessions, but the Russians might not like the offer. The meeting will probably take place Friday.
Protests go on
Protests continued yesterday at the Oltchim plant of Ramnicu Valcea, after 400 employees rallied in the street Monday, demanding their salaries for the last two months. The protest was joined by workers from the Bradu Petrochemical Division in Pitesti, a unit subordinate to Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, accompanied by their trade union leader Marian Dumitru, thus taking the number of protesters to more than 500. Also at Oltchim, five employees went on hunger strike, realitatea.net reports. “Those from Pitesti came too, because they are as desperate as we are. We demand the resignation of general manager Mihai Balan and we also demand the resignation of Victor Ponta, because he does not help us and does not explain us what is going on. We heard that the IMF wants to close our plant and leave us jobless,” another protester said. Sources quoted by rtv.net informed that the International Monetary Fund opposes the government granting state aid to the plant, because the money risks being lost. Furthermore, the IMF wants to close the plant if the next attempt to privatise Oltchim fails. During a visit to Brussels yesterday, Premier Victor Ponta asked Oltchim employees to stop the violent protests that scare investors, explaining that the Valcea-based company can only be saved with the help of its employees, Mediafax reports. Ponta added that Monday he had fresh talks with the ministers of Economy and Finance on the Oltchim situation and explained that the gradual restarting of operations in the plant also implies a restructuring process, because not all 3,000 employees will immediately resume working and the various sections of the plant will become operational in time. Part of the sections have already been reopened, and the money for salaries started coming last week, but a creditor bank immediately took the money. Asked by journalists if he will “behead” the minister of Economy, Daniel Chitoiu, Ponta said that he restarted some sections and will continue the talk with investors, and it is not the minister that forces employees to sequestrate local officials. Ponta once again accused the former general manager of Oltchim, Constantin Roibu of bringing the plant on the verge of bankruptcy. On the other hand, the president of PDL, Vasile Blaga said Tuesday that ARD demands PM Victor Ponta “to go from TV studios to the Oltchim plant” and dismiss “the so-called minister of Economy, Daniel Chitoiu.” Blaga added that the Ponta government “demonstrated its incompetence in Oltchim” and the premier “lied” when he said he has solutions for this plant.The general manager of Oltchim, Mihai Balan met the workers and asked them to give up the protests, saying that it is important now to restore the production capacity of the plant, so operations can restart, and protests would hinder this effort. But he was booed by the employees, same as trade union leader Mihai Diculoiu, who was also assaulted in front of the administrative building and forced to leave the area. People blamed him for not representing them anymore and contributing to the economic and financial disaster of the plant.