ATHENS - The Greek government on Monday presented a plan for the restructuring of LARCO GMMSA by placing the mineral and metallurgical industry into a clearance management status which envisages cost and wage reductions, and an immediate launch of a tender for the selling of the factory and mines within 12 months.
Under the amendment tabled to Parliament, unless the whole process fails to be timely completed, the clearance manager will be obliged to apply for bankruptcy.
"The proposal we table today is the last chance for LARCO to remain alive as the present situation cannot be prolonged any further," Costis Hatzidakis, Environment and Energy Minister said, adding: "We seek to maintain the company's healthy section and to sell it to a private investor. This will be done through a process which will be fast, legally solid, compatible with EU decisions and as mild as it can be for the workforce. We believe that the plan will create the preconditions for a new investor to proceed with all necessary investments to modernize operations and return the company to growth, to the benefit of workers, the local society and the national economy."
LARCO has a debt of more than 600 million euros to suppliers, banks, pension funds (of which 350 million are to PPC) and during the 2015-2018 period accumulated losses of 148 million euros. The company is also threatened with fines up to 50 million euros on environmental irregularities, while the Greek state has to return illegal state support worth 135 million euros. During this period, LARCO's workers did not suffer any wage cuts.
SYRIZA Leader Tsipras Meets with Larco Union, Calls for Job Guarantees
Larco metallurgical and mining company must remain in operation and jobs guaranteed, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday, following a meeting with the union of the company's workers at the main opposition party's offices in Athens.
Union head Andreas Koredzelos said that workers are afraid a deal will be made with an investor without a tendering process, and Tsipras responded that "what is of greatest importance for Larco is investments that will allow the company's viability long term," underlining the importance of observing environmental protection regulations.
"We didn't just keep the company operable," he said, "we also came to an agreement with PPC for cheap electricity rates," the main opposition leader said.