The Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, accuses Alcoa of being “the problem” to clear the future of the primary aluminum factory that it has in the A Mariña region, in the province of Lugo. The Ministry has given the company until the end of December to respond to try to end a conflict that has lasted for a year and a half and that threatens more than half a thousand direct jobs.
Maroto has assured in an interview with Cadena SER that the multinational “clearly does not seek an alternative solution” and has attributed the responsibility of the sale – negotiated in the summer of 2020 – to the Liberty House group to be frustrated and that they have not Negotiations with other companies interested in taking over the San Cibrao plant, in the municipality of Cervo, have prospered. “The problem is the attitude of a company that has received a lot of public aid and we ask it to take a step back, to leave A Mariña and sell,” he said. It has avoided the possibility of a public intervention of the plant as an intermediate step to sell it.
Among the pressure measures, the central government demanded from Alcoa the return of 34 million euros in aid for CO2 offsets. It did so as a result of the ruling of the Superior Court of Xustiza de Galicia (TSXG) that overturned the employment regulation file (ERE) that the company had presented for 524 workers. The decision was confirmed by the Supreme Court. The collective dismissal violated a requirement of these subsidies, which was to maintain employment for three years.
The conflict began a year and a half ago, when Alcoa announced its intention to close the primary aluminum plant and lay off the workforce. A period of negotiations was opened in August and September of last year to sell Liberty House, which did not come to fruition. In January 2021, after the cancellation of the ERE, the company again agreed to sit down to negotiate a possible sale, but there have been no concrete results so far. In the absence of progress, the workers resumed their strike and protests last September.