INA's layoffs decision is business decision, says minister

NEWS 26.08.2020 15:55
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Source: / ilustracija

Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said on Wednesday INA's decision to lay off 250 workers was a business decision, and that INA recently submitted a proposal to the Strategic Projects Commissionto declare the Sisak biorefinery a strategic project.

Asked by press to comment on the announcement that 250 INA workers would lose their jobs, Coric said there was no satisfaction if people lost their jobs at the end of a process of transformation, but that INA’s business decisions of several years ago were going in that direction.

“The thing that we can express satisfaction about, is that the workers are leaving with relatively favourable severance packages.”

The oil company said earlier this week that, given the circumstances of operating during a pandemic, the INA Group began organisational changes and that the restructuring would cover a maximum 250 workers. This news has caused great concern in the town of Sisak and the Sisak refinery, whose workers have warned that the layoffs would halve the refinery’s staff.

Asked about the layoffs, Coric said the company’s direction was its decision and that the global oil business was in trouble because of the coronavirus and other circumstances.

He said he was pleased that INA’s proposal to declare the biorefinery in Sisak a strategic project, was recently submitted to the Strategic Projects Commission.

We are pleased about that because I think that the direction which INA is taking in fact – a sustainable, green direction – is the right one, Coric added.

The minister said the government received Lazard’s final report on INA. The company is the government’s advisor on the possible by-back of MOL’s stake in INA.

He added, however, that the make-up of the council on negotiations with MOL on the possible purchase changed last week. “In the weeks ahead, that report will be presented to the council members and then we will go a step further.”

Asked if the political decision to buy back the stake was still on, Coric said the government decided to do that in 2016 and that the decision was confirmed in the HDZ’s platform for this year’s parliamentary election.

“We will try to enter into talks with the other side, present our offer and try and restore Croatia’s ownership of INA.”

A member of the press remarked that consultants said the buyback was not worth it. Coric said that he did not have that information.