Groundforce employees fear that the company is already struggling to survive

In the absence of an agreement that would allow Groundforce to receive an advance payment from TAP, a shareholder and customer of the aircraft baggage and cargo handling (envelope) company, the Labor Commission (CT) already fears the future and not just the payment of time and hourly wages.

“At this point it is clear that in the near future we will no longer just fight for wages, but also for companies and jobs.” The ruling appears in CT’s statement this Sunday after no agreement was reached between Groundforce’s largest shareholder, Alfredo Casimiro (owner of 50.1% of the capital, via Pasogal) and the Department of Infrastructure (which owns the TAP, owner of) , monitors the other 49.9%).

This ministry, headed by Pedro Nuno Santos and TAP, asked the businessman to submit his shares as a guarantee for an advance of around two million euros to pay the February wages. However, Alfredo Casimiro only accepted this on condition that he keep the controlling company, even if the guarantee was carried out.

This Monday, an official source from the Ministry of Infrastructure clarified that it was not possible to reach an agreement as the shares are already pledged to one or more of Alfredo Casimiro’s creditors, making it impossible to show TAP as a guarantee – what In return, he will now try to find out who might be left behind with these actions.

CT fears bankruptcy

In the statement, the CT said it was received by the minister on Friday and that “it has been duly made clear that nationalization is not a scenario that will mean Groundforce bankruptcy in the short term”. CT also considers it “absolutely unacceptable that workers should be exposed to a game of violence between private shareholders and the state”.

The company currently has 2,398 employees, 15% fewer than last May. Part of last month’s wages have already been paid, but the size of the payments is unknown, according to another statement by CT released on Friday.

CT planned a demonstration in front of Parliament in the late morning and early afternoon of the day. According to the statement, requests to be heard had been made to all parties and at least the PCP and PAN had shown “availability” to receive employee representatives.

João Alves, a CT member, reiterated to Lusa today the concern expressed in the statement that workers may already be “fighting for jobs” rather than just “fighting for pay”. CT also said it was unaware of the hypotheses now on the table for the future of the company that resorted to the layoff.

Standby financing

The application for a financing line of 30 million euros is open. The process was officially initiated at the end of February as part of the covid-19 funding lines, as soon as all requirements were met. The decision is expected to be known in a week and a half, but there are some aspects that are unknown here.

First, what type of loan (or loan) and what line of support is involved. Second, why, as stated by Pedro Nuno Santos, the requirements related to the loan in question, set out in the state support for the pandemic, are “the same” as those requested by TAP (customer and shareholder, when repaying) to be negotiated with Brussels), that is, such measures, which are known to have already been promised, make it difficult to approve the financing of 30 million euros. The PUBLIC asked the government about the ministries of finance, economics and infrastructure but has not yet received any responses.

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