The Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto (48 years old), has valued the agreement that guarantees the survival of the Siro Group once the investors have accepted conditions that allow the factories to remain active. The new viability plan comes after an agreement with the unions and the approval of the plant assemblies, to which Maroto attended this Saturday to explain the details of the commitment.
Ask. What balance do you make of the agreement?
Response. I am satisfied, the situation was critical and its financial viability and that social plan for the future of the workers had to be guaranteed. They are in a rural Spain that needs good policies and the Government’s commitment is fulfilled. There was a lot of mistrust of banks, suppliers or workers. We have built bridges, generating trust and helping to find investors and give confidence to the viability plan, in which everyone loses. It has been necessary to find balances with banks or suppliers, with engineering based on our knowledge, generating opportunities and crisis management. This learning generates a reputation for us: on Thursday they came with doubts and disappointment after a meeting with the Board.
P. How were those conversations on Thursday night?
R. The meeting with the Board on Thursday was a failure, they were disappointed. But we had to be up to the task and we look for improvements that we have been achieving after rejecting the first competitiveness plan. The negotiation was tough, the investor was on the phone and for hours we were improving conditions, we have incorporated nuances until Saturday, improvements such as incentivized withdrawals. On Saturday there were many emotions and questions, I took the risk of going through all the plants to build trust.
P. What differences are there between what was initially offered by the investors and the final result agreed upon?
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
R. There was a loss of purchasing power that was not recovered in that competitiveness plan, we have managed to recover more than what they are going to lose in those four years. It is a transitory plan, from the fourth if everything goes well we have managed to improve the investment plan. The ministry does not finance the strike, we create opportunities to talk about the future. The investor was making an effort that I want to value and that allows us to talk about the future. We were not only talking about paying salaries for May and June, but about returning to profitability in the company in a period of four years. If not, on June 19 it would have been in bankruptcy proceedings. The State has saved 130 million euros with this agreement: 80 million ICO guarantees, 15 million direct ICO credits, 35 million aid from various ministries, in addition to the cost of 1,700 workers in Fogasa, with 30% of the workforce with more than 30 years listed.
P. The agreement implies a two-year term for the reindustrialization of the Venta de Baños plant. What can happen next?
R. That plant was closed in the previous plan. The business model of the new investor allows new profitability, and that he can decide that he does not close it. Or that an investor arrives later. It is giving life to many people, who, thanks to the fact that politics has worked, see the future differently today.
P. What did the templates transmit to you this Saturday?
R. I have received a lot of affection, I went to the assemblies to explain the work done and the alternatives. There was no plan b, they had to trust that the proposal with Siro was the winner. They understood and there was a massive vote. Politics is not made in offices, but in the street. Emotions were running high, we cried on the floors. Politicians are people too.
P. What has been the role of the Junta de Castilla y León in this matter?
R. There has been no dialogue. This last week they have only bothered, we have given them information so that they see that they were part of the solution, we have not acted disloyally. It has been an inaccessible Administration, I am sorry because in other cases it has not been like that with the Xunta and Alcoa. The show on Thursday was unfortunate, they told them not to get on the minibus because the Government of Spain was lying to them. We don’t lie. If we are wrong it is because we took action, the Board has been absent.
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