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What's happening at PKP Cargo? Unprofitability, collective layoffs and a Ukrainian competitor

Co się dzieje w PKP Cargo? Nierentowność, zwolnienia grupowe i ukraiński konkurent
  • PKP Cargo announced on July 3 that it intends to lay off up to 30 percent. employed.
  • This means that over 4,000 people may lose their jobs. people.
  • According to the latest information from the management board, at the end of June, approximately 20 percent of employees were not working. employees.
  • PKP Cargo submitted an application for restructuring proceedings, i.e. a type of restructuring procedure. If the court agrees, trade unionists will be treated the same as ordinary employees.
  • Public consultations are ongoing.
  • There will also be a last-chance meeting with trade unionists on July 10.
  • The situation at PKP Cargo will be discussed in the Sejm on Wednesday.
  • The largest single shareholder of PKP Cargo is PKP SA, which has 33.01 percent. shares.

At the beginning of July, the management board of PKP Cargo announced that it intended to carry out group layoffs by September 30, which would cover up to 30% of the company's employees (up to 4,142 employees). The reason for this decision was given in the official announcement as the dramatic condition of PKP Cargo, resulting from poor management over recent years.

Despite the loss of the market and contracts, falling real revenues, costs and wages were rising, and money was invested and spent that the Company did not have. The market share measured by transport performance (number of kilometers traveled) also decreased significantly – from almost 60% in 2013 to less than 30% in the first quarter of 2024. Market share calculated by freight weight decreased from 49% in 2013 to 30% in the first quarter of 2024. The situation of PKP CARGO SA was worsened by the political decision in 2022 to implement the government order to transport coal. The resulting abandonment of other contracts had a negative impact on the condition and financial situation of the Company in the following years – we read in the press release.

Currently, there is a 20-day consultation period with social partners, which will end with the possible conclusion of an agreement. If this does not happen, the employer will draw up regulations for collective redundancies, which will take into account what has been expressly agreed between the employer and the unions.

Collective layoffs are an element of restructuring activities. In addition, an application for restructuring proceedings was also submitted. As Marcin Wojewódka, president of PKP Cargo, says in an interview with the wnp.pl portal, "the purpose of the restructuring procedure is to protect the company while it is recovering from its knees after disastrous management with the participation of trade unions."

The words of the president and the company's announcement show that the previous government is to be blamed for the unprofitability. But in the two previous years, the company reported net profit. According to the company's announcement, the operating profit of PKP Cargo in 2023 amounted to PLN 291.40 million. This is less than in 2022, when it reached PLN 333.30 million. Operating revenues in 2023 were higher than in the previous year and reached PLN 5,552 million, and in 2022 they amounted to PLN 5,448.80 million.

Perhaps we will learn more about this matter today during the permanent subcommittee on rail transport. During the meeting, the current situation of PKP Cargo and the planned restructuring of the company will be discussed.

In turn, during Wednesday's press conference, KO MPs referred to the situation in the company. According to MP Jolanta Niezgodzka, today 100% responsibility for the condition of PKP Cargo lies with the company's previous management boards and the previous government – reports PAP.

– In 2014, the company was valued at PLN 4 billion, and in the first quarter of this year – only at PLN 600 million. The company's share price dropped from PLN 90 in 2014 to PLN 12 in the first quarter of this year. The share of PKP Cargo in the Polish market dropped from 60%. to less than 30 percent today – she listed.

Despite the loss of market share, despite the loss of contracts, despite decreasing revenues, costs and wages increased, money was invested and spent that the company did not actually have – emphasized the KO MP. As she indicated, today PKP Cargo's debt amounts to over PLN 5 billion.

Moreover, the MP drew attention to the very high earnings of PKP Cargo management board members. – Messrs. Dariusz Seliga, Marek Olkiewicz, Maciej Jankiewicz earned over a million zlotys each for the company's robbery activities in a short period of time – she added.

Ukrainian competition on the tracks

To make the PKP Cargo case even more tragic, suffice it to mention that a Ukrainian competitor will soon appear on the railway tracks. In July last year, we reported that Ukrzaliznytsia, the state-owned Ukrainian railway, had registered a subsidiary in Poland called Ukrainian Railways Cargo Polska . After a year, the company has just obtained a license to enter the European rail freight market and will probably be providing services as a full rail transport operator in the European Union within a year.

We continue to systematically work on the European integration of railways and the development of international services. Obtaining a license is another step towards creating a full-fledged international railway operator that will be able to offer its customers one cross-border transport service. We are also working on the development and approval of new international routes, said Yevhen Liashchenko, chairman of the board of Ukrzaliznyci.

Initially, according to the announcement, Ukrainian Railways Cargo Poland will focus on increasing traffic through Ukrainian-Polish border crossings. Moreover, in the future, the company plans to operate rolling stock with a track width of 1,435 and 1,520 mm, which will allow it to operate efficiently at all border crossings with Poland.

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