Power workers threaten blackouts as sale of PPC seen moving ahead


The unions representing workers at Public Power Corporation (PPC) will be meeting on Thursday and Friday to discuss their reaction to government plans for the company’s privatization, the head of technical employees, Costas Maniatis, said on Tuesday.

Speaking to North radio, Maniatis said that GENOP, the PPC umbrella union, will even consider rolling blackouts if the leftist-led government responds to demands from international creditors for the sale of a 40 percent stake in the company’s lignite and hydroelectric plants.

“The workers have a right to strike, not just for themselves but for the country and the business,” Maniatis said, calling the country’s creditors “loan sharks.”

The head of the central council of GENOP, Giorgos Adamidis, also indicated staunch resistance to the plan, accusing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of going back on his pre-election promises.

The planned sale of the PPC stake has caused friction within government ranks, with Interior Minister Panos Skourletis saying on Monday that the proposal by creditors goes “beyond the contours of what has been agreed” and that the government should oppose plans to “cannibalize PPC.”

According to a draft plan seen by Kathimerini, the sale will start from July and end in the first half of 2018. Skourletis’s overall stance with regard to PPC’s fate has received fervent backing in the past from the Group of 53 faction – the self-declared guardians of party purity – which strongly believes that the corporation must remain state-run.

PPC's privatization is seen as a key step in wrapping up a review by international creditors of Greece's current bailout program.