Romanian delegate minister sent to Oltchim protests

07 September 2012 17:23  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Romanian ministers are reassuring hundreds of protesting workers at Oltchim that the loss-making chemical producer’s upcoming privatisation will stabilise employment prospects for the company's 3,500-strong workforce, Romania's Ministry for the Economy, Commerce and the Business Environment said on Friday.

Liviu Pop, the government's Minister Delegate for Social Dialogue has held meetings with Oltchim trade union leaders following protests that broke out outside the company's production complex in Ramnicu Valcea, central-southern Romania, it added.

The scene at the site was fractious, with protesters demanding that Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta personally attend the scene to address the workforce's anxieties, according to a source involved in the special administration under which debt-laden Oltchim has been placed.

“Workers fear that either the privatisation won't take place, and company liquidation will follow, or that if it does take place it will lead to an immediate 500 redundancies or more,” he said.

Privatisation was by now the only viable way forward for the company, the economy ministry said, adding that it was also trying to resolve employee worries that two months of unpaid wages would never be paid.

On Wednesday, German chemical, energy and logistics group PCC - which already owns 18% of Oltchim - confirmed that it is one of two unnamed big companies that the prime minister has said are interested in acquiring a majority stake in Oltchim at an auction scheduled for 18 September.

Earlier, Constantin Roibu, the CEO who has led Oltchim for more than two decades, and his management team, resigned their posts, citing a lack of dialogue with the economy ministry on the future of the company.

Production at Oltchim has been severely restricted for more than a year, with the company unable to source enough working capital to secure feedstock supplies .

Oltchim’s main products are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyols, dioctyl phthalate (DOP) and caustic soda.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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