January 26, 2021

The central and Basque governments negotiate with a Dutch ship-owner to save La Naval | Economy

The central and Basque governments negotiate with a Dutch ship-owner to save La Naval | Economy



The situation of the Basque shipyard The Naval of Sestao (Bizkaia) is still very critical. The only hope that the activity can be maintained during the next months and its closure is avoided, is that the Dutch ship owner Van Oord agrees to conclude the construction of the dredger Vox Alexia. The central and Basque governments now focus all their efforts on exhausting this path, although they consider that the possibilities of saving the company are very scarce. "We will continue working until the last day to reach a solution, within which the situation is tremendously complicated", Secretary of State for Industry, Raúl Blanco, warned on Monday after a meeting with the workers.

The minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, in front of a delegation of the central Government, has met today in Bilbao with representatives of the works committee of La Naval to analyze the situation of the shipyard, in the process of liquidation and with an ERE of extinction for the entire workforce, consisting of 177 workers. The appointment was also attended by the Director of Business Promotion of the SPRI, Iñaki Tellechea, representing the Basque Executive.

The Naval is in an agonizing moment. The institutions have exposed to the workers that the only solution is to conclude the dredge Vox Alexia, for which they have initiated conversations with Dutch ship owner Van Oord, although the number two of the Ministry of Industry has indicated that the negotiations are "very complicated". The members of the committee recalled that the shipowner already warned last Monday that the dredge will not be finished building in the Sestao shipyard without the economic injection of a new private investor.

The president of the committee, Pedro González, commented that if they do not manage to finish the dredge, "in a month and a half we will all be at home" after executing the dismissal file. Workers have once again demanded that the authorities buy La Naval or transfer workload from other Spanish shipyards, but both options have been almost discarded by the Secretary of State. With regard to the public acquisition of the Biscayan company, Blanco has stated that "it is an option against which European regulations set the standard" and could be annulled by the EU because it is a State aid.

Blanco has acknowledged that the Spanish Executive is "fully aware of the importance of La Naval for the Basque and Spanish industrial fabric" and also recalled that the calendar "does not row in favor" of the salvation of the naval company. In reference to the request to transfer workload of Navantia, Blanco has warned that being another company is facing "difficult, complicated and must be assessed very carefully"

The parties have remained at a future meeting, which could be held within two weeks, according to the committee. In this new appointment, according to the secretary of the works committee, Juanjo Llordén, the central government expects to have prepared the reports on these proposals made by the committee to transfer workload from Navantia and the possibility of purchasing the shipyard.

"My feeling is that we have to have more will, because it is possible to buy, but the Government is afraid that there are many cases of many companies with problems and is afraid to start with one," added Llordén, who recalled that if the shipyard closes, 88% of the workforce will be public, although they would be transferred to Cádiz or Ferrol.

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