Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis allayed concerns of workers at Elefsina Shipyards on Thursday over the delay in pushing through a reorganization plan by an interested investor, by saying this does not point to their shutdown.
At a workers’ assembly meeting, Georgiadis spoke of the delay in tabling the plan in parliament after the Hellenic Navy – which pays 3/4 of the Elefsina workers’ wages while they await the finalization of the new plan – did not cosign the plan. This lack of endorsement prevented the speedier resolution through the courts by the end of 2021, the minister said, but did not cancel the upgrade plans.
US-based Onex, which owns the Syros island shipyards since 2019, has expressed interest becoming the Elefsina shipyards strategic investor since 2018.
Georgiadis said that the Greek government will table an updated legislative framework that will contain the entire streamlining plan as soon as next week, so that its ratification can be completed in April in a plenary vote.
“Presenting the plan as part of a legislation is a quicker, and legally safer procedure,” he underlined, as all Greek political parties will have access to the entire plan and can take a stance on it in parliament. Georgiadis told workers that he is adamant “the Elefsina shipyards will not shut down, this is final” he noted, “as it is Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ decision to go ahead with ONEX’s plan.”
As recently as two weeks ago, Georgiadis further noted, the US government reassured Alternate Development & Investments Minister Nikos Papathanassis in Washington that it will be participating in ONEX’s plan. The American government, he added, “will fund the commercial aspect of the shipyards, and continues to talk with the Hellenic Navy about the corvette programme or any other programme the Navy comes up with.” As for the private aspect of the Elefsina shipyards, he said, shipbuilding group Fincantieri will also be involved, depending on Hellenic Navy programmes.
The future looks promising for Elefsina shipyards, the minister asserted, as climate change and the war in Ukraine will require upgrading of Greek merchant and military ships, while increased defense spending means more ships will need to be built. [AMNA]