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March 6, 2021
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Clashes at Oltchim unionists protest

Some 1,000 Oltchim employees protested outside the government building, asking for their salaries to be paid by April 15. “Ponta, we are starving to death!”, workers shouted at the meeting.

Some 1,000 employees from Oltchim and the Bradu Petrochemical Division protested yesterday outside the government building until 2 PM, being dissatisfied that they have not been paid and are about to be laid off, asking Premier Victor Ponta to solve the problems at the plant.

The protesters shouted “We want to work,” “Down with the government” and held banners reading “Abject poverty is next,” “We voted You, you lied to us,” “Ponta, we’re starving to death! Is this your country?” and “Down with the mafia,” . Marian Dumitru, leader of the Pitesti-based “Unirea” Union, stated that approximately 500 employees from the Bradu Petrochemical Division came to protest outside the government building, joining 500 of their colleagues from Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea. Oltchim and Arpechim trade unionists held talks yesterday with Minister for Social Dialogue Doina Pana, Economy State Secretary Adrian Ciocanea, and two prime minister advisers, according to ziare-pe-net.ro. « Unfortunately, this is how the prime minister treated us, 1,000 employees, from the counties of Valcea and Arges. We came here to protest peacefully, to show he is misinformed over the Oltchim situa?ion and to demand a decision aimed at all the production capacities and privatization getting started.

Officials at the Ministry of Economy however came up with no solutions, they only said they would convey our demands, so that PM Ponta reaches a decision in this respect,’ said Mihai Diculoiu, president of the Oltchim Free Trade Union. In the employers’ name, Oltchim requests the replacement of the two judicial administrators, which are blamed for failing to invigorate the company and continue creating social tensions. Likewise, Mihai Diculoiu, the president of the Oltchim Free Union, stated that Oltchim should be privatized jointly with the Arpechim Pitesti refinery in June 2013, with the help of a strategic investor, and that the employees want their salaries paid by April 15. At the same time, union members are asking the PM for an emergency meeting and consider that saving jobs should be a priority for the gov’t and are asking the Premier and the government “to put the fate of the people and the salvaging of jobs above any other interests.” Meanwhile, the protest was not exactly peaceful. At one point several representatives of the National Bloc of Revolutionaries appeared in the square and distributed manifestos but the leaders of Oltchim’s unions accused them of seeking to hijack the protest. Nevertheless, a group of approximately 30 revolutionaries tried to join the protesters by going through the line of gendarmes.

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