The National High Court has condemned the American multinational Alcoa to comply with the conditions regarding the termination of contracts and relocation of workers of the Avilés (Asturias) and La Coruña plants that agreed with the unions as a result of the sale of these facilities.

In a sentence known this Tuesday, the Social Chamber of the National Court understands that “Alcoa never stopped being the real employer of the workers” after the sale, and concludes that the “reindustrialization of the plants and maintenance of employment (…) has not been carried out in accordance with the agreement”.

The court finds that neither Parter Capital, which acquired these facilities at first, nor the subsequent buyer, Grupo Riesgo, “minimally” meet the profile of “serious, solvent and rigorous entrepreneur” which was intended at the time to guarantee the future of these facilities.

Moreover, he adds, what results “Palmaria is the contribution of both to the desolation situation in which the plants and their workers find themselves”.

Nevertheless, exonerates Alu Ibérica from any responsibility in the breach of the agreements acquired with the representatives of the staff.

In this way, the magistrates partially estimate the demand of several unions in the framework of the collective dispute over the agreements reached in the consultation period for the collective dismissal for the Avilés and La Coruña plants with the Alcoa Inespal Group.

During the hearing, held on May 20, the multinational defended that the sale occurred in a transparent way, with the endorsement of the central government and the workers, and pointed to Parter, a fund against which he filed a lawsuit last year, for the breach of certain obligations.

Specifically, the unions referred to the agreements reached on January 15 and July 4, 2019.

The BNG requires the central government to apply the AP-9 discounts this month and fulfill its commitments to Alcoa

This year, Alcoa sold these facilities to Parter after a long process that started at the end of 2018 when the multinational announced its intention to close the two factories.

The company then justified its decision on the high costs of electricity in Spain, the need to make large investments and the difficult situation in the aluminum markets.

But the Swiss investment fund did not take long to divest itself of the two Alcoa plants, which were acquired by Grupo Industrial Riesgo, already under the name Alu Ibérica.

Now the magistrates analyze the sale, and they point out that “no data offered by Alcoa nor in the sale process and its subsequent implementation regarding these two companies that allow us to even infer that they meet the profile of the serious, solvent and rigorous buyer that must prove “.

Thus, conclude that the plant sale process established in the agreement reached in the consultation period “has failed” because the purpose of reindustrializing these facilities to allow the continuity of the employees’ jobs has not been achieved for reasons attributable to Alcoa.

Residents of A Mariña and Alcoa San Cibrao workers are concentrated in Xove

In the eyes of the court, the January 15 agreement signed between the multinational and the representation of its workers “is fully in force”.

Consequently, it activates the subsidiary and alternative obligation of the agreement, that is, the termination of labor relations in the established terms, conditions and deadlines.

So that, The court recognizes the right of the workers at the Avilés and La Coruña plants affected by the layoffs to “full compliance” to the conditions on the termination of their contracts as well as to the external relocation plan.

The judges, on the contrary, acquit Alu Ibérica LC and Alu Ibérica AVL, understanding that the responsibility of Consultation period agreements “exclusively” involve the employer who signed them, that is, Alcoa.

Therefore, the role of Alu Ibérica “only” would be linked to the consequences derived from reindustrialization and the maintenance of employment, which as a consequence of its failure, “gives rise to the reactivation of the terminations” of contracts.

Industry underlines in its letter to Alcoa that it is it that "must take the initiative" with the "interested" in San Cibrao

The sentence can be appealed before the Supreme Court within five days.

This procedure is independent of the case opened also in the National Court, although in criminal proceedings, for alleged crimes of aggravated fraud, punishable insolvency, misappropriation, against the safety of workers and belonging to a criminal group.

The investigation, led by the head of the central court of Instruction number 3, María Tardón, is part of the complaint filed by the CCP against ten natural persons and nine legal entities, among which are the companies Alcoa Inespal, Alu Ibérica AVL, Alu Ibérica SL, Parter Capital Group and Grupo Industrial Riesgo.


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