Concern about the implications of the labor reform in the fruit and vegetable sector

The implications that the labor reform, which will enter into force on March 30 after it's approved in Parliament, will have in the agricultural sector were addressed yesterday in a webinar organized by Fepex and Garrigues. According to the analysis, article 15, which relates to the duration of employment contracts, and article 16 relating to fixed-discontinuous contracts, will affect the sector the most as they regulate temporary hiring, which is inherent to the fruit and vegetable sector due to the seasonality of its productions.

The labor reform, which was published in the BOE on December 30, has been required by the European Commission linked to recovery and resilience funds. Its main objectives are to reduce temporary employment and to increase the employability of the younger population, stated the director of the Department of Employment, Diversity, and Social Protection of the CEOE, Rosa Santos, who was part of the negotiating team of the CEOE in the negotiation of the labor reform with the Government and the unions.

In this line, some of the main changes approved in the reform affect temporary hiring, as it eliminated the contract for work and services, and maintained two types of temporary contracts- temporary contracts due to production issues and the contracts to replace workers.

The temporary contracts due to production issues may be drawn up under three circumstances: occasional and unforeseeable increases, fluctuations in production, and occasional and foreseeable short-term situations, according to the Senior Associate of the Garrigues Labor Department, Maria Jose Calvet.

Fernando Crespo, a partner in the Labor Department at Garrigues, also outlined the main changes to article 16 relating to discontinuous permanent contracts, which from now on must necessarily be formalized in writing and establish greater specificity, having to reflect essential elements of the employment activity, including the duration of the period of activity, the working day and its hourly distribution, among others. Federico Duran, Of Counsel of the Garrigues Labor Department, analyzed the role of collective bargaining.

According to Fepex, the Royal Decree-Law 32/2021, of December 28, on urgent measures for labor reform, the guarantee of employment stability and the transformation of the labor market fully affects the fruit and vegetable sector because it implies major changes in temporary hiring, the most common form of hiring in this sector because of its idiosyncrasy and the seasonality of the campaigns. The reform has not taken into account the characteristics of the fruit and vegetable sector, stated the president of the Fepex Labor Committee, Juan Hernandez. It will complicate hiring and it is already generating great insecurity regarding its future application, he added.



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