PPC lignite units sale plan in parliament, union reacting

A draft bill covering the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required sale package of lignite units, submitted to parliament yesterday, is vague in sections concerning labor issues, which is providing further momentum to the strike action pursued by the utility’s union, Genop.

It is not made clear how many PPC workers will be transferred to the payrolls of the lignite unit buyers. The only specific form of protection offered to workers by the draft bill’s content is a term forbidding new owners to dismiss unit workers for a period of six years following the sale.

The terms of an older but unexecuted PPC sale plan that would have carved out and sold a section of the utility, locally dubbed “Little PPC”, included a job-security clause for all staff members of units that would have been sold. The current plan is vague on this matter.

Genop, the utility’s union, which is planning to stage a series of 48-hour strikes, has urged all MPs, in an open letter, to reject the draft bill, describing the sale plan as a “national crime.”

The draft bill, a 17-page document divided into nine articles, includes a time frame for fast-track procedures. The sale is scheduled to be announced in late May.

PPC needs to disinvest 40 percent of its lignite capacity. Two Megalopoli units, one Meliti unit, a license for a new unit in Meliti, as well as rights to mines feeding these units make up the sale package.

These will be divided into two companies, representing units in the north and south. Investors, it appears, will be able to submit offers for full ownership of one or both companies.