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Poland’s Ursus Tractor Plant Furloughs 12,000

July 30, 1991

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The state-owned Ursus tractor enterprise on Tuesday announced that it is bankrupt, cannot meet its July payroll, and will immediately lay off more than 12,000 employees.

Ursus spokeswoman Elzbieta Olech said no solution had been found to continue production after a week of meetings with bankers, government officials and management. Furloughs of white-collar and blue-collar workers will start Monday, she said.

″The enterprise has no money. In Western terms, Ursus has gone bankrupt,″ she said by telephone.

She said workers will have to wait for their July wages. About 9,000 workers will be laid off at the main Ursus plant outside Warsaw, and 3,000 in offices and at the Ursus metallurgic enterprise in Lublin, Olech said.

She foresaw a ripple effect on about 300 companies building tractor components. In all, about 100,000 workers in Poland are dependent on the tractor industry, Olech said.

The furloughed workers are not immediately eligible for state unemployment pay because they are not officially unemployed, she said.

Ursus is one of Poland’s best-known industrial enterprises. Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, who visited the Warsaw plant a week ago, condemned managerial ″incompetence″ that he said bordered on sabotage.

The plant’s Solidarity leader, Janusz Sciskalski, told the PAP news agency that the layoff period should be used to introduce reforms and organizational changes to help Ursus recover.

Olech said Ursus management had prepared four options for the government, including liquidation. He said a decision could come next week.

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