ECONOMY

PPC dismisses union claims on cooperation with RWE

The Public Power Corporation (PPC) has decided to toughen its stance toward its employee union (GENOP), making it clear it will not give in as far as the company’s cooperation with German firm Rheinisch-Westfalisches Elektrizitatswerk (RWE) is concerned. Last week GENOP interrupted the company’s board meeting which was discussing the memorandum to RWE, forcing PPC Chairman and CEO Takis Athanassopoulos to withdraw it. GENOP accused Athanassopoulos of being «suspiciously hurried.» The following day, however, Athanassopoulos sent an open letter to the PPC union qualifying as «institutionally misplaced and irresponsible» the intervention by GENOP at last Thursday’s meeting. In this long letter, Athanassopoulos had tried to counter all the union’s arguments against the memorandum of cooperation with RWE, arguing that it is a very positive prospect for PPC. Yet this has clearly sent a message to GENOP that it will not give in again to such interventions, deciding to toughen its attitude ahead of the next board meeting in January, which will have the memorandum back on the agenda. «Institutionally misplaced and irresponsible interventions, unfounded and imaginary accusations, not to mention threats, may be making the company’s work harder but will not lead it to idleness, as this does not serve the interests of PPC at all,» the letter says. The memorandum proposes cooperation with RWE in the following points: sale of two gas-turbine units totaling 167 megawatts, the joint construction of a coal unit (owned by RWE-51 percent and by PPC-49 percent), further development of the natural gas sector and meeting the targets of the PPC renewable energy sources subsidiary. In its letter to GENOP, the management argues that examining the proposal by RWE on cooperation is the management’s obligation, that the memorandum simply lays out the framework of cooperation with the German company, and that this is not cooperation with a strategic investor, so there is no need for a tender, that the coal unit under examination represents additional power, and that accusations about a «suspicious hurry» are completely unfounded, therefore any delay would be in other parties’ interests and not those of the company’s.