PPC voluntary retirement offer may help propel partnerships plan

The negative reaction by main power utility PPC’s union groups to a plan envisioning the establishment of partnerships between PPC and private-sector firms makes even more difficult this task whose aim will be to offer third parties access to lignite sources as well as hydropower production, sectors currently dominated by PPC.

Negative union reaction in the past has sunk similar-minded plans, including an effort concerning the establishment of a partnership between PPC and Germany’s RWE. Admittedly, much time has since passed, while current conditions, largely shaped by bailout-related demands, are very different. However, any union reaction will need to be handled appropriately if progress is to be made.

PPC sources have informed that talks are already underway to establish terms for favorable retirement packages to be offered to staff members employed at units to be included in prospective partnerships. The objective, sources informed, is to offer appealing retirement packages to a substantial number of employees, especially older staff members.

A successful outcome of the retirement would help lure private-sector investors, who are expected to be offered 51 percent stakes in the PPC partnerships.

Reports claiming that PPC has taken on board an excessive number of employees in certain divisions, such as hydropower plants and administration, have occasionally emerged. On the contrary, some reports have contended that the utility faces a shortage of technical staff and workers at its mines and lignite-fired stations. It is estimated that PPC currently employs over 6,000 persons at its mines and production units in Greece’s north.

Greek officials, in negotiations with the country’s international creditors, tabled the PPC partnerships plan as an alternative to the sale of a 30 percent share of PPC, locally dubbed “Little PPC”.

The partnerships plan is expected to be a leading issue during talks between Greek officials and the country’s lenders in autumn.