PPC union chief vows firm action against lignite units sale plan

The leader of the main power utility PPC’s union has promised to take firm action intended to tackle a draft bill for the utility’s bailout-required sale of lignite units, when it is soon submitted to parliament for ratification.

Responding to energypress questions, Giorgos Adamidis, the Genop president, warned the union will begin with limited strike action and continue with longer 48-hour strikes as well as power station shut-downs.

“Even if the sell-out is completed and the draft bill ratified in parliament, as is expected, we will not hand over the keys to any investors that may emerge from the tender,” Adamidis remarked.

The PPC union had taken extensive action in 2014, when the country’s prevous administration attempted to sell part of PPC as a result of European Commission pressure.

The energy ministry is expected to submit to parliament its draft bill for state-controlled PPC’s disinvestment very soon, possibly within the next few days, while an international tender concerning the sale is scheduled to be announced in May.

Certain pundits believe these dates are over-optimistic, regardless of Genop’s threats, and see the tender being completed early in 2019, at best.

The stance to be adopted by banks that have extended loans to PPC is a major question. For quite some time now, they have placed PPC under a form of guardianship. The banks could well set their own terms for the sale of lignite units as this disinvestment will reduce the power utility’s asset base, which was factored into calculations when loans were extended to PPC.

Once the energy ministry’s draft bill is ratified, two subsidiaries will be established, one comprised of a sale package of PPC lignite units in the country’s north and the other a package of units in the south.

The procedure splitting the units to be sold will then be put on hold for a month should PPC creditors file legal action. If this stage is cleared, PPC’s shareholders will vote to endorse the split plan. This is the point during which Genop, the union, could intervene.