The aluminum multinational Alcoa has announced the closure of at least two of its three factories in Spain: Avilés and A Coruña. This is how the company has transferred it to the European committee, according to union sources. Representatives of the three committees -Avilés, A Coruña and San Ciprián (Lugo) – have also been summoned to a meeting this afternoon at which details of the decision will be provided.
In all of Spain, the US company would have 2,000 employees. The majority of the workforce would be in Lugo, 1,300 employees. In A Coruña there will be 400 workers and about 300 in Avilés (Asturias). The central offices are located in Madrid. Two years ago there was a sales process for the three plants which, finally, did not close.
Union sources have pointed out that one of the arguments put forward by the company is the high price of energy -which represents up to 40% of the costs of aluminum production- as well as the raw material. In recent years, the electric interruption auction system, the demand management tool that compensates companies for disconnecting from the electricity system in case of need, had been a recurrent reason for concern about the viability of the factories.
The announcement has provoked the immediate reaction of the president of the Principality of Asturias, Javier Fernández, who has transferred on Wednesday to the multinational's management his opposition to the closure of the company in Asturias. In addition, he regrets the "unusual" way of proceeding of the company, by convening the three committees to a meeting for this noon without agenda.
As explained at a press conference the Minister of the Presidency and spokesman of the Asturian Executive, Guillermo Martínez, the Government of the Principality regrets the position of the company without having warned that the closure was among his immediate plans. "Transfer a collective dismissal, we are talking about closing", regretted the counselor.
Likewise, the Asturian president offers collaboration to the president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, to try that the company reconsiders his decision and avoids the closing of the Alcoa plants. The regional government also maintains contact with the central government and the City Council of Avilés. It will also convene a meeting with employers and unions to address the situation of the industry in Asturias. "We oppose the closure of the facilities and ask that they reconsider," said Martinez, warning of the harmful nature of the measure for workers and the Aviles region.
According to the counselor, the company's arguments are the same as 2014, when the closure was proposed although it did not occur. Alcoa points as reasons for the price of energy, the price of raw materials and inefficient installations.
Regarding the state of the plants, the Asturian Government emphasizes that this is attributable to the lack of investments of the company itself, adding that the purchase of raw materials is made in the international market.
Regarding the price of energy, Guillermo Martínez has stated that "it has been attenuated" since 2014. "The Government of Spain has just arrived and we have not heard that the competitive auction system is going to be suspended, which makes it cheaper, does not cost , the price of energy, "he says.