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Daugavpils sees jobs in co-op with Poles

  • 2000-04-27
  • Valters Medenis
RIGA - The Daugavpils City Council is looking to improve the unemployment problem in its city and increase the economic production in the region with a deal struck with the Polish metal construction company Rawent. The mayor, Aleksejs Vidavskis, sees this as a great opportunity for economic growth.

"With the debacle of the Tolaram Fibers plant and the loss of 1,500 jobs at the factory, the City Council sees this as a good opportunity to give something back to the Daugavpils community," said Risards Draba, the executive director of Daugavpils City Council.

Earlier in the year, Daugavpils unemployment rate grew dramatically when the Tolaram Fibers plant became bankrupt and job losses were incurred. Some of these jobs could be restored after the bankrupt fiber factory's major creditor, Unibanka, auctions the plant, but only time will tell.

"Until a new owner has bought the Tolaram Fibers plant, our community is desperate to see their family members back in stable work," said Draba. "Rawent has shown a lot of interest in investing in our city and their offer to open a factory here will give experienced welders stable employment."

Rawent is based in Skrierniewice in central Poland. The company has set up a metal construction and electric fibers factory in the Polish city and wants to establish a similar project in Daugavpils.

On April 14, company executives from Rawent and the mayor of Skrierniewice visited the Daugavpils City Council to put forward their proposition of setting up a metal construction and electric fibers plant.

"After our meeting with Rawent, we have agreed to give them permission to start their project," said Draba. "The City Council has also agreed to give Rawent tax discounts for the first years of operation for the creation of new jobs in our city.

"The tax discounts will be given to Rawent for the development of industry in Daugavpils," he said.

In the next few weeks Rawent will be registering the new company in Latvia.

During the discussions between the Daugavpils City Council and Rawent, the company proposed to offer up to 200 jobs to the people of Daugavpils, 100 being technical welders.

An agreement needs to be reached on how the Daugavpils workers will be trained. Rawent wants the 100 welders who will be offered work to visit their plant in Poland and be trained in how their plant operates.

"We have not agreed upon how the training will happen. We have offered to set up a technical training school here and teach the prospective workers the latest welding technology," said Draba. "Daugavpils has experts who have suitable welding experience to be given the jobs on offer."

The mayor of Skrierniewice proposed that Daugavpils and the central Polish city sign an agreement.

"The Polish delegation was pleased with the potential that Daugavpils offers. By the sound of things, our cities are very similar and have the same problems economically," said Draba. "This is an excellent chance for two cities to help each other."