Alcoa management and workers have reached an agreement after nine months of friction. The North American company, which has been threatening the closure of its primary aluminum production plant in San Cibrao (in the municipality of Cervo, Lugo) since last May, has agreed to resume negotiations to sell it to the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI ). In exchange, the works council must suspend the strike that has caused millions in losses since October. The pact has been approved this Friday by the employees through a vote and will be in force until next April 30.
The company will have two weeks to submit a proposal for general terms to SEPI and restart the failed negotiation of the sale. It is committed to keeping the tanks where the aluminum is produced in operation, which are essential to ensure the future of the plant. In addition, it has agreed to maintain production for the duration of the contacts with the state company.
The new agreement comes after the Superior Court of Justice of Galicia annulled the collective dismissal that the multinational announced for 534 factory workers. The company already carried out a failed sale attempt in autumn, to the British group GFG Alliance. That is why the workers also agreed that the management of the multinational report the results of these new conversations to the works council and the regional and central governments in a monthly multilateral table, similar to the one that was already launched between May and September.
This seems to be the end of a battle that had the entire region of A Mariña, highly dependent on the plant, in vigil, which pitted the multinational with the Xunta de Galicia, the Ministry of Industry and the works council. The company pointed out, then, that the negotiations were not carried out in “terms acceptable to the market” and insisted that GFG also demanded the purchase of the Alumina refinery, adjacent to the aluminum plant and that it has never been in the negotiations. . The multinational has also insisted, during the nine months of talks, that the sale or the judicial blocking of the layoffs does not solve the “structural” problems of a plant that has experienced losses in the last three years.
Among them, it points to an excessive supply of aluminum in the world market and the energy costs for industries with high consumption, or electrointensive, in Spain. Faced with the latter, the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto announced last month the approval of the electro-intensive consumer statute and reiterated, last Monday, his intention to reduce high prices, in a forum organized by The Economist. But the intention to sell the plant has not changed for Alcoa, which is committed to “finding the best possible solution for both parties.”