Last Wednesday, the unions UGT and CC.OO. protested in Valencia to demand a minimum wage for citrus harvest laborers, who, in the best cases, receive 700 Euro per month. They also asked for a salary increase within the framework of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
More than 300 people participated in the protest, which took place under the slogan "Defending the citrus sector". The participants were carrying a giant-sized orange.
The union leaders have reported that, after months of negotiations with the employers, the Citrus Management Committee and the cooperatives/warehouses, no agreement has yet been reached for a collective agreement that ended in August and which is being negotiated for the next three or four years.
Given that some 100,000 pickers are affected (75,000 from Valencia, 20,000 from Castellon and the rest from the Marina area, in Alicante), the unions demand compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (with at least a 2% increase), a wage clause guaranteeing the salary of hours worked, and stable employment with rights.
90% of workers in the citrus harvesting sector are often "not paid properly" due to bad weather or issues with the production, so they demand a "decent wage", as well as the 51 Euro per day foreseen in the collective agreement. This was explained by the general secretary of FICA-UGT-PV (Federation of Industry, Construction and Agriculture), Daniel Argente. These pickers work only during the citrus season, from September to June.