Enefit Kaevandused, the mining subsidiary of state-owned energy company Eesti Energia, informed the Unemployment Insurance Fund on Wednesday that they are collectively laying off 146 employees in connection with the closing of old energy blocks at their Narva power stations.
"This will now be followed by a period of at least 15 days during which the employer will consult with a trustee of the employees as well as the employees themselves," Annika Koppel, head of communications at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa), told the Baltic News Service.
"The final data of the Unemployment Insurance Fund will be presented at the end of January, how many people will by made redundant and when their contracts will end," Ms Koppel said.
Meetings between Enefit Kaevandused and the fund are set for early February, when they will discuss the situation and look at the overall availability of other jobs in the region.
The reason for the lay-offs is the expiration of several blocks at Enefit Kaevandused's Narva power stations. The blocks have reached their maximum lifespan according to the EU Industrial Emissions Directive, and now need to be shut down.
The blocks are all run with oil shale, which means that not only is there an impact on the volume of electricity produced in Estonia and on the number of people needed at the power stations, but the shutdown will also effect the mining industry, as demand for oil shale will shrink.
For now, Eesti Energia's aim is to bring down the number of people working in its large-scale electricity production division by 150. Some 65% of those laid off are eligible for retirement, an additional 10% are offered a company-sponsored pension agreement. As set out in the law, the remaining 25% need to be offered training opportunities.
Editor: Dario Cavegn