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September 28, 2022

New day of protests and promises at Oltchim

Apart from the employees’ salaries being paid, three more plant units will restart in the following days, Economy Minister Daniel Chitoiu stated. Likewise, PM Ponta underlined that the former government bequeathed the plant with debts of EUR 500 M.

The Oltchim employees’ salaries for September will be paid starting today, while those for October will be paid at the end of November or early December, Economy Minister Daniel Chitoiu announced, Mediafax informs. Thus, the Economy Ministry announced yesterday at the start of the government meeting that negotiations took place with Oltchim’s creditor banks and apart from paying the salaries three of the plant’s units will be restarted in the following days, the plant set to reach 65 per cent of its production capacity by mid-December.Premier Ponta added that Oltchim’s privatization was agreed with the IMF in February, before the current government was sworn in, and the former government bequeathed the plant with debts of EUR 500 M, debts which were, according to the Premier, the result of frauds and thievery on behalf of the former government’s members. “I want to ask you to understand the people and to offer them concrete things in relation to Oltchim’s outlook. I don’t believe Oltchim employees have to be punished in any way or accused for the thieveries and nerve of Blaga, Videanu, Dan Diaconescu and the whole gang that leeched on Oltchim,” Ponta stated. He pointed out that he expects state institutions to do their job when it comes to the notices of fraud and illegalities at Oltchim. Approximately 300 Oltchim employees protested yesterday for the third consecutive day outside the plant’s administrative building, asking for Premier Victor Ponta to go there and explain to them why the government failed to honor its promises. “There are now six hunger strikers but we won’t give up until the plant leadership’s and the authorities’ promises materialize. We have the guarantee that the salaries for September plus the leaves and other rights stipulated in the labor contract will be paid in full later today. If that happens we could give up the plan to go to Bucharest tomorrow (Thursday – editor’s note),” Corneliu Cernev, the leader of the protesters, stated yesterday. According to Cernev, yesterday there was also information that the plant’s second unit was about to be started up after another unit had been restarted in early October. Yesterday trade union leaders and several of the protesters’ representatives discussed with the plant’s leadership, the latter trying to obtain from the banks a EUR 20 M loan needed to restart the unit. A hunger striker collapsed, receiving first aid in the plant’s infirmary. The employee, who was on hunger strike for well over 48 hours at the time of the incident, was carried away by the plant’s doctors and put on perfusions. On Tuesday Premier Victor Ponta called on Oltchim employees to put an end to violent protests, pointing out that such actions scare off the investors and the plant can only be saved with the employees’ help.

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