After Constantin Roibu, general manager of Romanian state-owned company Oltchim resigned, several hundred employees started protesting at the plant in Ramnicu Valcea. Their protest, started on Wednesday, continued on Thursday (September 6 ). This came after the government changed Oltchim’s privatization strategy by selling via a collective procedure the state-owned stake.
Union leaders from Oltchim stopped work in protest against the delay in making a decision about the plant’s situation, which resulted in an emergency visit to Ramnicu Valcea of Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
Also, 300 employees of Bradu Petrochemicals Division in Pitesti participated in a spontaneous protest in solidarity with the workers at Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea. The protesters demanded to see the general manager of the Oltchim plant, Roibu Constantin, but he did not make an appearance. Roibu resigned from the position he occupied for 21 years. Along with him, 16 other executives have handed in their notice, according to the local media.
The decision to resign was caused by the proposal of head of the Office of State Ownership and Privatization in Industry (OPSPI) Remus Vulpescu, for the replacement of Oltchim management as a condition to ensure working capital for operating the company and paying salaries.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta assured on Wednesday that the government is seeking an investor for Oltchim and asked the company’s employees not to scare off potential investors. Minister for Social Dialogue, Liviu Pop, will go to Râmnicu Vâlcea to talk with the protesters.
Two weeks ago the government changed Oltchim privatization strategy by selling via a collective procedure state-owned stake, or 54.6 percent of the share capital and the debt held by Authority for State Assets Recovery (AVAS) and Electrica SA , adding up to 56 percent in the company.
The employees of Petrochemical Division of Bradu of the Oltchim plant protested against the decision to make over 500 employees redundant between August 27 to September 30, due to lack of working capital required. Following the protests, the plant’s management suspended redundancy plans.
Oltchim’s privatization is one of the main requests from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in order to approve the sixth evaluation of the agreement with Romania.
Ioana Toader, firstname.lastname@example.org