Regional railway unions threaten strike
PR dla Zagranicy
Trade unions active in Poland's biggest passenger railway firm, Przewozy Regionalne, have said they would organise a protest if a restructuring plan is not signed by Friday.
Przewozy Regionalne belongs to the country's 16 provincial authorities. The company is deep in debt and requires a capital injection that could come from state-owned Industrial Development Agency (ARP).
However, only seven provinces have so far signed the rescue plan prepared for Przewozy Regionalne. Some of the others are against it and have suggested they would rather develop their own passenger railway firms.
In response to the situation, 14 trade union organisations active in the company have put forward an ultimatum. If the plan is not signed by Friday, they will demonstrate and possibly go on strike.
The demonstration is planned for 6 November at noon in front of the Ministry of Infrastructure, which supervises railways.
“In the first half of November we may start a strike, though we are counting on reaching an agreement,” Leszek Miętek, head of the Engine Drivers' Trade Union, told Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. If the strike takes place, it will affect passengers around Poland.
Wojciech Jankowiak from the Wielkopolskie regional authorities is not optimistic. “This is blackmail,” he said of the unions' demands. “We will surely not sign any agreement before the end of October.”
Wielkopolskie is against the current proposal for the rescue plan, as it has its own passenger railway, Koleje Wielkopolskie. A similar stance is presented by the Donloslaskie and Malopolskie voivodships.
The plan, prepared by consultancy EY, stipulates for a 750 million zloty (178 million euro) capital increase by the ARP, which would then become the company's majority shareholder. It also requires regional authorities to sign five-year contracts with Przewozy Regionalne. (kw)