Future of Dolna Odra power complex is uncertain

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The forthcoming privatisation of Poland's Dolna Odra power complex (ZEDO) is encountering obstacles in late 2005. The ZEDO complex is due to be acquired by the Spanish Endesa group. However, the trade unions at ZEDO have expressed their reservations about privatisation. It seems that the deal will be done only if an agreement is reached between the investor and the unions concerning a 'social package' for the employees .

The Dolna Odra Power Plant Complex (Zespół Elektrowni Dolna Odra, ZEDO) is one of the largest energy generators in Poland still to undergo privatisation. A first attempt at privatisation made by the State Treasury in 2003 miscarried due to the low interest on the part of potential investors. In 2005, the government decided to embark on a second attempt at privatisation.

The Endesa group, based in Spain, was granted the exclusive right to negotiate acquisition of the majority of ZEDO shares. However, the endorsement of an agreement was hindered by the reservations expressed by the company trade unions anxious about a drop in employment following the privatisation. In November 2005, a protest committee composed of all union organisations operating within the company petitioned the Minister of Treasury concerning the privatisation and their 'anxiety about the future of the enterprise and its employees'. Trade unionists also warned that they were determined to act 'in the defence of their work places and families'. The protest committee was established at the beginning of 2004, when the company trade unions united in a struggle against the absorption of their company by Kompania Węglowa, as planned by the government. The earlier action of the unions was successful, and the committee has recently been revived to block the privatisation plans.

Despite open criticism concerning the privatisation expressed by trade unions and certain political forces, with the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin, LPR) emerging as the main adversary of the ZEDO sale, Minister of Treasury not only did not break off the negotiations with the potential investor, but also worked out a tentative privatisation agreement, by virtue of which the Endesa group would obtain 85% of ZEDO shares. However, on 15 December 2005, at a meeting of the national committee of the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Solidarność, NSZZ Solidarność) in Gdansk, the Minister reassured the unionists that the majority of shares would be sold to the Spanish investor, provided the investor and organised employees’ representatives endorsed an agreement on a 'social package' (including employment guarantees and other key issues). Furthermore, the Minister announced that most probably the final decision concerning the privatisation would be made in the first quarter of 2006.

This information is made available through the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO), as a service to users of the EIROnline database. EIRO is a project of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. However, this information has been neither edited nor approved by the Foundation, which means that it is not responsible for its content and accuracy. This is the responsibility of the EIRO national centre that originated/provided the information. For details see the "About this record" information in this record.

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