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"Vicente Bordils, president of the CGC: "Se ha impuesto la cordura"

Citrus strikes called off after salary increase agreed

In the early morning of Tuesday, 13 December, after an agreement was reached between the unions and the employers, the strike that the citrus sector had called for the period between 15 and 21 December has been called off. The agreement includes a 1.8% salary increase this year, as of 1 December, according to Comisiones Obreras.

9 meetings have been necessary for the agreement to be reached. On Monday, at 16:00, a meeting was held between the employers, the Citrus Management Committee (CGC) and Cooperativas Agroalimentarias of the Region of Valencia, to try reaching a common position, with the unions UGT and Comisiones Obreras in the other side. At 16:30, the meeting between the employers and the unions started and lasted until 6:00 am, when a principle of agreement was reached and the strikes were called off.

According to Comisiones Obreras, the agreement is for four years, with a salary increase of 1.8% for 2016 and of 1.25% for 2017, 2018 and 2019. There has also been a significant reduction in the requirement of accredited experience; having worked for 75 days in the sector was the previous requirement, but now a 30-day accredited experience will suffice.

It has also been agreed to modify the overtime regulations, with the creation of several schemes, depending on the needs of each worker. There will also be an additional bonus of 10% for all work hours at night after the end of the shift; +10% for regular night hours; +20% for structural night hours and +30% for night overtime.

The week in which the strike was called, in the pre-Christmas period, is undoubtedly one of the most commercially-intensive of the whole citrus campaign, which is why both the Citrus Management Committee and later some producer associations, such as Ava Asaja and FPAC, warned that the consequences could be devastating, with losses of around 200 million Euro.

In the words of Vicente Bordils, president of the Citrus Management Committee: "the result of the negotiations is a moderate satisfaction for us. Sanity has prevailed and a strike which would have been terrible for the citrus sector this season has been prevented," affirms the representative. "The agreement guarantees a threshold of stability for companies and workers," he adds.

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