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New World Resources to sell back its Czech coal mine to state?

Company New World Resources (NWR), the owner of OKD, has recently proposed to close Paskov as early as at the end of 2016. Czech government wants to obtain money to solve the future of employees of mining company OKD from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), Labor and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová and Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek told journalists after talks with trade unions’ representatives today.

The Czech Republic would use the money from EGF to support those OKD employees who would be laid off, to pay for their retraining and to help them find new jobs, the ministers said.

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The government’s priority, however, is to preserve as many jobs at OKD’s Paskov mine as possible, the ministers added.

Company New World Resources (NWR), the owner of OKD, has recently proposed to close Paskov as early as at the end of 2016. It has reportedly asked for about Kč 4 billion in return for continuing the mining, which has been rejected by both the government and the tripartite (representatives of the government, trade unions and employers).

Another option proposed by NWR is transferring Paskov to the state.

OKD and its supplier companies employ a total of 13,000 people, Mládek said earlier.

According to materials from the government, talks with potential candidates interested in “acquisition activities” in OKD still continue. The possibilities of a controlled bankruptcy or a sale of a part of OKD are also being discussed.

Funds from EGF are used in situations when more than 500 people lose jobs within a short period, Marksová noted.

The Czech Republic has already drawn money from EGF to support several hundred employees of Unilever CR, which closed its plant in Nelahozeves, central Bohemia.

“The financial means (from EGF) are not sent to the company but are sent directly to support the dismissed employees, to cover their retraining and to help find new jobs for them,” Marksová said.

Mládek said his ministry will develop new industrial zones. “We would like to finally do something about the (planned) Nad Barborou zone (in northern Moravia), which has been blocked by (Finance) Minister (Andrej) Babiš,” Mladek said.

“There are various other options (for OKD). The company may continue operating or it may survive for some time with certain difficulties. Another possibility is that it will end in insolvency proceedings. After today´s talks I am convinced that the state administration is well prepared for the worst-case scenario,” trade union umbrella ˇČMKOS chairman Josef Středula said.

A meeting between government representatives and the management of OKD is to take place in the second week of January. “We want to hold the meeting in the presences of Finance Minister Babiš,” Mládek said.


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