Monday, 12 September 2016

12.9.16 Industrial Action in Jerez? Global Fortified Masters

On Thursday the UGT and CCOO unions, representing workers in all aspects of the Sherry trade, and Fedejerez which represents the bodegas, will meet at the negotiating table to try and thrash out a new deal, but the workers are threatening strike action if Fedejerez does not soften the stance it has maintained since last month’s meeting failed to reach agreement. Strikes have happened before, like in 1982 and 1991, for example, but at least this time the harvest is done.

Every few years a contract, known as the Convenio de la Vid, is drawn up, and agreed by both sides. It can be varied by agreement however, and this happened in the last convenio of 2011-2015, when the workforce agreed to waive their annual pay rises as a gesture to help the bodegas through the world financial crisis. Now they want to reintroduce it but the bodegas are not keen, saying that some have gone out of business and that the crisis is not over yet.

Furthermore, Fedejerez wants to reduce starting pay for new staff and end extra payments for length of service, which could represent some 20% of the pay of a long-serving worker. The bodegas have also been accused of employing many more part timers. The unions say that the bodegas are making good profits and are in good shape, especially with all the recent Asian investment, and will continue to prepare for strike action while not abandoning the possibility of negotiation.

Drinks Business Magazine is seeking final entries for the III Global Fortified Masters competition. Wines will be blind tasted by a panel of Masters of Wine. They are encouraging small and medium-sized producers to enter and show how well they can compete with the big firms. The deadline for entries is September 30. Results will be published in the magazine, online, and in social media.

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