PKP Cargo crisis continues

by

… unions threaten general strike.

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The trade union leaders’ letter

As PKP Cargo teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, railway trade union leaders held an emergency meeting in Warsaw today to plan their response. The unions have sent a letter to Cezary Garbarczyk, the Minister of Infrastructure, and Wojciech Balczun, the Chairman of PKP Cargo. The letter points out that the collapse of PKP Cargo would not only be a personal tragedy for each of the company’s 40,000 employees, but would also have grave effects on the rest of the PKP Group. The unions point out that they have not seen any rescue plan for Cargo. They are demanding an immediate meeting with the Minister and the board members of PKP Cargo. Fifteen union representatives have constituted a strike committee and warn the Minister that if their request is not granted they will organise protest action, which could even include a general strike.

PKP Cargo has been trying to persuade the railway unions to accept 5,000 redundancies without indicating how it intends to arrest the continuing decline in its revenues. The unions have extrapolated the figures shown to them by Cargo bosses and have worked out that 10,000, not 5,000 jobs are at stake. At present, Cargo employs some 40,000 people.

The above, plus the fact that Cargo are setting up some of their workshops as independent entities, would indicate that the PKP main board are trying to improve Cargo’s balance sheet prior to a sale of the company. Our betting is that the Minister will allow the rail unions to call their strike. Cargo will then be allowed to go bankrupt with the Minister blaming the unions. DB Schenker will then ‘rescue’ the company by buying up the parts that are economically sound and take on approximately one third of the present workforce. What’s the betting that Cargo will no longer be part of the PKP Group by the end of 2010?

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