Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting

GUJARAT NRE Coking Coal shareholders yesterday voted to accept a $65 million cash-for-shares deal by Indian giant Jindal Steel that will keep the company solvent, but workers still do not know when they will be paid despite waiting a month without wages.
Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting Gujarat workers still waiting for money after shareholder meeting

Gujarat executive chairman Arun Kumar Jagatramka

Lou Caruana

The resolutions at the meeting, held in Illawarra and attended by many miners who are also shareholders in the company, saved Gujarat from being sold, but questions remain about the long-term viability of the mine.

The deal will leave Gujarat will $18 million in additional capital to use to pay off its creditors.

After the meeting, Gujarat issued a statement saying: “The company will make the necessary arrangements to pay all workers at both its mines, their wages and monies owing to them. No specific date can be set for these payments, except to say it will be made as soon and as early as possible.”

Chairman Arun Jagatramka was reportedly also unable to say when wages would be paid, according to the Illawarra Mercury.

“As a board, we will be meeting after this meeting and we will be discussing these things.” Jagatramka reportedly said.

“I believe we should be able to come out with a statement in the next few days.

“The thing is, we have sort out many things, before we actually start working.”

Jindal Steel – which imports 2 million tonnes of coal a year from Australia – ends up with 53.63% of the Illawarra producer. Gujarat’s shares rose more than 20% on the result of the shareholder vote.

Mine employees are meeting with unions this weekend, after the union organised for food vouchers to be distributed to employees who were waiting to receive their wages.

Jagatramka blamed the falling coal price and high Australian dollar for the company’s woes, in a statement to workers released last week.

“There is no doubt that falling coal prices and a strong Australian dollar on top of liquidity constraints, did affect day to day cash flow and brought into question the operational viability of our company,” he said.

“The external global financial environment has been equally bad or worst preventing us from getting any timely funding from the banks.

“As for the future, I firmly believe that our two mines have a great future. Now and following the general meeting on October 16, we must work together to realise our potential and see the mines growth and prosper.”

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