Agroalimentaria from Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and FITAG from the UGT that represent sugar workers in Spain, both IUF affiliates, signed a two-year collective agreement on 21 June, with representatives from the employers.
Among the main issues agreed were an 0.6 percent increase on wage scales in each on the two years of the contract; a 5 percent increase on both the end-of-campaign bonus and for years of service ; a 30 Euros per night for working on 24 and 31 of December and 5 of January. Agreement is retroactively to 1 January 2013. Spain reported close to 1,600 employees at peak time in the 2011/2012 harvest.
The contract regulates sector-wide working conditions, while there’s the possibility of workplace negotiations for issues not covered by the contract or about implementing some aspects of the same. According to sources, the unions were able to fight some of the more aggressive aspects of the so-called labour reform, particularly the one stating that if negotiations during 12 months do not reach an agreement, then the collective agreement is denounced and effectively disappears.
The contract covers employees in companies that manufacture and refine sugar, including companies that operate related activities, such as packing. Also included are companies producing biofuels from agricultural products, and employers that have been covered by the sugar contract in the past.
A note on the employers.
The contract was signed by AB Azucarera Ibera, AB Mauri, ACOR, Lesaffre Ibérica and AGFA, the national association of sugar manufacturers. AB Azucarera Iberia is part of the ABF conglomerate, which also includes the largest sugar company in Africa, Illovo Sugar, and the sole processor of sugar beet in the UK, British Sugar, in addition to sugar operations in China. These sugar concerns are managed by AB Sugar. ACOR is a cooperative with some 8,600 members in the provinces of Castilla and León. AB Mauri is a subsidiary of ABF, in the sector of bakery products, while Lesaffre Ibérica is the world’s leader yeast producer.
With thanks to the International Secretariats of Agroalimentaria (CCOO) and FITAG (UGT) for the information provided.