The turnout at a rally in Megalopoli, Peloponnese yesterday, held to protest against the planned sale of main power utility PPC’s Megalopoli III and IV units, exceeded the expectations of its union organizers with over 2,000 persons attending to signal the sale will not proceed without resistance.
The situation was far milder at a rally in northern city Florina, organized by Genop, PPC’s main union, which drew an estimated 500 protesters to rally against the inclusion of PPC’s Meliti unit, located in the area, to the sale package.
The reaction was stronger in Megalopoli as the employment stakes are far higher in this Peloponnesian city. The two Megalopoli units to be placed for sale employ some 1,100 persons, mostly locals, whereas the Meliti unit in the Florina area provides work for about 60 locals of 200 employed at the unit in total.
Also at stake for the people of Megalopoli is the potential loss of a sizeable carbon-related support sum distributed by PPC to the local community to help the development of various regional projects. This sum is believed to be worth 7 million euros annually. The handling by any private-sector investor of this vital financial injection for the Megalopoli community remains completely unknown.
At a political level, some unrest that has become apparent within the ranks of the Syriza party, the coalition’s key partner, appears to be superficial. Certain party MPs and affiliates have described PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment as a sell-out but are admitting they will ultimately abide by the party line.