My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman

GUJARAT NRE Coking Coal executive chairman Arun Jagatramka has warned his unpaid workforce of “very challenging times
My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman My hands are tied, says Gujarat chairman

Gujarat executive chairman Arun Kumar Jagatramka

Blair Price

The Illawarra region coal miner failed to pay weekly wages on September 25 and every week since, with hopes based on Jindal Steel and Power accepting a $A66 million Gujarat share offer at a general meeting on October 16.

Jagatramka expressed his frustration in a statement that was read to a packed union member meeting at the Fraternity Club on Tuesday.

Here is that statement, published unedited and in full:

Dear friends

We have before us some very challenging times.

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. The external global financial environment has been equally bad or worst preventing us from getting any timely funding from the Banks. Our parent company provided us much support as is possible and ultimately in June this year, majority control was offered to Jindal in the interest of providing further financial support. No additional payment was sought by the parent company for relinquishing control to Jindal.

To ensure that operations continue and save all the jobs in the company, we agreed to issue further equity to Jindal group at very low prices providing them with a controlling stake. Even the independent experts BDO have evaluated the deal as NOT FAIR but REASONABLE.

With control of the company projected to be transferred to Jindal all mechanisms to induct another investor or get offtake funding etc were no longer an option available to me. We did try and raise whatever cash we could from all potential sources by selling our non core assets including our properties at Bank Street, Cliff Road and shares in Rey resources etc. to sustain our mining operations in this period. I am thankful to Jindal for providing partial funding in last 3 months to sustain operations, but I am baffled by their sudden withdrawal and absolute refusal suddenly to remit even the critical amount needed for timely payment of weekly wages. This was never expected by me and I am at a loss of words in this regard.

My "hands are tied" and all possible avenues of obtaining temporary assistance between now and the general meeting have closed. This is indeed a most regrettable outcome and I extend my sincere apologies to you all for any problems you might be experiencing. I have always treated you as part of my family and our current situation causes me great pain. The support given by all Gujarat NRE workers is greatly appreciated and we would not have been able to accomplish so much, without your dedication.

As for the future I firmly believe that our 2 mines have a great future. Now and following the General Meeting on 16th October 2013, we must work together to realise our potential and see the mines growth and prosper.

Many thanks for your support.

Arun Kumar Jagatramka