With noise to match the size of their shipyards’ debts and worry, determined not to go quietly, some 300 Polish workers have been protesting in Brussels, demanding their jobs be saved. They flew “Solidarity” trade union banners proudly.
The European Commission is closely involved in the future of the Gdynia and Szczecin shipyards, both heavily in debt and reeling from the impact of EU competition rules.
Last week, Poland said that it had accepted a salvage plan proposed by competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to rescue the state-owned shipyards.
The yards face having to repay 2.1 billion euros in public subsidies. Under Brussels’ proposal, the yards’ assets would be pooled and put up for sale in “an unconditional tender”. The Commission says its scheme will mean fewer lay-offs than a plan by Warsaw, which included more state subsidies.