NWR Says It Has Offered ’Maximum’ to Miners Who Threaten Strike

New World Resources NV, the largest Czech producer of coal for steelmakers, made its best offer possible in wage negotiations with miners who are threatening to go on strike.

The workers are voting on whether to walk out and are scheduled to announce the outcome tomorrow. The company, whose personnel costs represent 50 percent of its spending, can no longer guarantee benefits such as year-end bonuses that equal two months’ pay, Jan Fabian, the Chief Executive Officer of NWR’s main unit OKD, told financial website Patria.

“We’ve really made a lot of concessions, and at this point we are at a maximum of what we can offer our employees,” Fabian said in an interview with Patria. “We cannot maintain all the benefits that were granted at a time when coal prices were at a record high.”

The company, which operates four active mines in the Czech Republic and has two projects under development in Poland, reported its fourth loss in a row yesterday as it battles a drop in coal prices and shrinking demand from steelmakers. It has pledged to shut down the unprofitable Paskov mine and renegotiate a collective wage agreement with unions by year-end.

NWR has not given up on the Polish Debiensko project it put on hold last year, according to the executive. Its future depends on the development of coking coal prices, which are unlikely to return to levels seen in previous years, he said.

The company’s shares rose 4.23 percent at 3:45 p.m. in Prague, extending yesterday’s gain of 5.4 percent. The stock has lost 71 percent of its value this year.

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