Electricity

Polish coal industry workers to receive EUR 300 million amid closures

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Published

February 6, 2024

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Published:

February 6, 2024

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Poland’s proposition to compensate employees in coal power plants and lignite mines that will be closed over the next ten years got a green light from the European Commission. The budget amounts to EUR 300 million.

The government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who returned to power in December, is mending Poland’s relations with the administration in Brussels. Many of the disputes concern the energy transition. Poland has set a tentative 2049 deadline for the coal phaseout, while the new government vowed to determine a definitive date. It is expected to be much sooner, especially because the country supported an initiative for the European Union to target a 90% emissions cut by 2040.

The European Commission approved a EUR 300 million Polish state aid scheme to alleviate social costs of closing coal- and lignite-fired power plants and lignite mines. The country depends on the solid fossil fuel for 70% of its electricity.

The measures envisage severance payments as well as paid leave for employees close to retirement

The funds are envisaged to support workers who will lose their jobs due to the closure of such facilities. They are entitled to one-year severance payment, which they can choose instead of the severance payments foreseen in the applicable collective labor agreements.

Poland also notified, for legal certainty, a paid leave of up to four years for employees close to pension age until their retirement, the announcement adds. The scheme will run for 10 years, until February 2034. The European Commission said the move shows its commitment to a green transition that leaves no one behind.

It should be noted that the Court of Justice of the EU fined Poland EUR 15 million in 2021 for refusing to close the Turów coal mine. The facility is located near the border with the Czech Republic, which filed the complaint in the first place.

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