Alcoa has issued an ultimatum to the works council of the San Cibrao plant, in the municipality of Cervo (Lugo), with which it has been negotiating for three consecutive marathon days. Thus, it sets this Tuesday, December 28, as the deadline - at 2:00 p.m. - for the agreement to be signed.
This latest offer from the company involves an investment of 103 million dollars (more than 90 million euros at the exchange rate) for "the future viability and growth of the plant", including the restart of the electrolysis tanks in 2024 after a shutdown of two years, and as a guarantee a restricted deposit for the same amount will be constituted.
In this regard, the president of the Alcoa San Cibrao committee, José Antonio Zan, points out that the "same problem" continues, as they ask that the vats not be stopped.
"The situation for us is almost impossible and Alcoa's position is tough and uncompromising," he laments.
Thus, he accuses Alcoa representatives of being "tight and distant" in a "very difficult" situation. Negotiations will continue this Thursday, December 23, starting at 11:00 am, again in Santiago.
Along these lines, Zan warns that "there is no solution that can be seen on the table", so on the 28th the proposal will be voted on in a workers' assembly. "The one that is going to say what will or will not happen is the staff," he sentenced.
For its part, Alcoa proposes that, during the period of the cessation of the electrolysis activity, it will work to "secure long-term power purchase agreements and make new investments in the plant."
Those investments would include improvements to the main electrical substation, the anode plant and the smelting furnaces. This will increase production capacities and the quality of value-added products, such as aluminum extrusion billet.
In addition, the company ensures that it will maintain wages during the period of cessation of electrolysis. It will sign a new collective agreement with salary increases of 2% per year from 2020 and valid until the end of 2025, as well as other social benefits and the commitment to hire a number of workers from temporary work companies.
It also shows its commitment not to carry out any employment regulation process in the next four years.
To this is added that it will extend three years the current contracts of the contractor companies directly affected by the temporary cessation of electrolysis and anode plant. Likewise, it will prioritize the hiring of transport companies and local supplies.
"We have listened carefully to the various ideas to improve the plant and we believe that we have developed a very fair and generous plan that incorporates many of the ideas we heard at the negotiating table," said Alcoa's Executive Vice President and Alcoa's Chief Commercial Officer. Corporation, Tim Reyes.
"Our offer will protect employment and provide investments that will help ensure that electrolysis is ready for full restart. We believe this is the best solution for the future of the plant," he said in a statement.
If the proposal is accepted, once the orderly cessation of the electrolysis and anode plant activity has been carried out, employees will be able to carry out other tasks and participate in training plans, or access paid leave for limited periods. The smelter will continue to operate to ensure the supply of metal to customers.
Of course, the proposal is conditional on calling off the current strike and "maintaining social peace." In this way, a monitoring commission will be constituted with representatives of the workers, the central government and the Xunta.
Alcoa claims that the San Cibrao aluminum plant "is operating at extraordinary financial losses due to exorbitant energy prices." The alumina refinery will not be affected and will continue to operate normally.