Alcoa employees cut the Cantabrian Highway in protest at layoffs

Thousands of people, including a multitude of Alcoa workers, have staged a protest on Sunday, with the Cantabrian Highway cut off, as a sign of their rejection of the announcement by the aluminum multinational that it will begin a period of consultations for a dismissal group of a maximum of 534 employees alleging an unsustainable situation in that factory.

"It was a surprise protest. People are starting to heat up," the committee chairman, José Antonio Zan, told Efe. In this protest action, which has had the A-8, at the height of Ribadeo (Lugo), as a key protagonist; There was also tire burning on this day.

"Madrid, Escoita: Alcoa is in loita", "Energía, solution" and "Pedrito, échale güevos", in reference to the Chief Executive, Pedro Sánchez, have been some of the proclamations.

Alcoa management proposed to the works council to open consultations for three weeks to analyze the future of the plant, the challenges and options, as well as measures to take with the representation.

In their communication, they point out that the purpose of this informal consultation is to be able to move forward with the workers' representatives before starting a formal consultation period, which has specific deadlines. They also specify their intention not to take any decision until the consultation period has ended.

The reason that has led the multinational to make this decision is basically one, at least it is the one they allege: the series of external production and market problems that have made primary aluminum production inefficient and the operation of the plant not be competitive.

Among those structural problems would be high energy costs and the low price of aluminum, which, together with global excess capacity, "have caused significant recurring losses, which are expected to continue" in the coming months, the management team said.

The Ministry of Industry, after knowing the intentions of the Alcoa management, has invited to reconsider such decision.

Thus, in a statement, the Government claims co-responsibility to the multinational at a time when "it is more necessary than ever to maintain productive capacities and jobs" and points out that note that the company "has had and continues to have important public aid, conditional on maintaining employment ".

The Industry department claims to be "aware of both the difficult financial situation" of the multinational at an international level and of the "structural problems that the plant has, especially in the current context, with a significant drop in demand" for primary aluminum ; but he does not see that the proposal is the way out. Hence his request to rethink.

The president of the works committee in San Cibrao, José Antonio Zan, considers that, in the current circumstances, the central government should study a nationalization as "first option" to safeguard the interests of the factory and those 534 jobs, because the future of the plant is "feasible, it is viable" and "it is something we have been repeating for years."

Zan openly expresses his discrepancies with Alcoa's approach on that plant and asks the Xunta and the central government to "get involved".

The central government "has a mechanism that it did not have before, which has the authorization of the European Union, and which is called intervention by companies at risk of crisis," observes the president of the company committee.

The San Cibrao industrial complex includes an aluminum and an alumina plant, which employ 633 and 510 people, respectively.

According to Alcoa, the planned restructuring at the aluminum plant plans to operate "on only part of the smelter", so that the production of the alumina plant will not be affected by this informal consultation period.


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