Workers of ZE PAK, in Konin, Wielkopolska, Poland are faced with an uncertain and volatile situation awaiting financing decisions on their Just Transition plan.

Over recent months and years, the trade unions and the management of ZE PAK have done an incredible job in trying to anticipate and manage the change for ZE PAK’s employees. In good faith and social dialogue, they have negotiated the so-called ‘A Job after Coal Programme’, a programme aimed at safeguarding jobs and incomes, re- and upskilling employees and offering social protection schemes for the remaining workers.

The programme received much attention during recent meetings of the Just Transition Platform and has also been lauded as a best practice by the World Bank.

ETUC and industriAll Europe strongly support the efforts by the social partners in Konin as this is one of the best examples of putting Just Transition into practice in Europe.

However, it is of particular concern that the programme risks failure due to the uncertainty of a pending decision regarding funding: the Just Transition Fund and state aid which allow social protection programmes to be put into place.

Social partners in ZE PAK are now desperately awaiting a formal notification of the European Commission by the Polish Government and for the processing of the state aid notification.

This aid will unfortunately come too late for the 3,000 workers who have lost their jobs in Konin since 2018, but it will now secure the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of employees.

Failure of this project would jeopardise the trust of many workers in ZE PAK,  in Poland and throughout Europe, which is why a rapid and effective solution for the workers must be found immediately.

For this reason, industriAll Europe and the ETUC call for urgent support and commitment from the European Commission for a fair and smooth transition for workers.

Read the letter here