Sunday, June 26

Possibility of ERTE due to the industrial inactivity of Las Vegas Altas

Selection process in a tomato industry near Santa Amalia. / JM ROMERO

The lack of agricultural production means that the president of Agro-food Cooperatives has to meet with the general director of Labor

The transforming cooperatives of Las Vegas Altas are inactive. The lack of agricultural production, caused by the drought and the distribution of water from the Orellana Canal, has led to a very difficult situation in this area. This is how Ángel Pacheco, president of the Extremadura Agro-Food Cooperatives, explains it, who this morning met with the General Director of Labor, Sandra Pacheco, to discuss the possibility of carrying out a temporary employment regulation file (ERTE ).

“During the last few months -explains Ángel Pacheco-, we have held meetings with the relevant ministries, with the Guadiana Hydrographic Confederation, with the Orellana Canal and with other organizations to try to find a solution”.

Right now, in Las Vegas Altas, they only have a 37% supply of water, which limits production in these areas. Fundamentally, the tomato has come out quite affected by this distribution; In addition, Pacheco emphasizes, it will not be possible to plant any rice and corn. Hence, they have had meetings, for example, with ministries such as Education and Employment or Agriculture to alleviate this economic loss and given the impossibility of planting their productions. “But, logically, those who are going to suffer some of the most direct consequences are going to be the processing cooperatives, as well as the corn dryers,” he says.

The workers say that, since they will not be able to count on this year’s production, they will have -and are beginning to have- problems in their normal activity. «We wanted the meeting to expose the solution and see possibilities. The first is that the cooperatives present an ERTE due to a total lack of production or due to fewer products as they cannot sow as a result of the drought.

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The other possibilities must be “deepen”, since this is the first contact to find a solution. At the moment, Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias wants to see, in a general way, the opportunities they have. And it is that, according to Pachecho, “our rice cooperatives will work this year with the previous harvest. The problem will be next fall. And those who work the corn, he assures him, will be affected before these, due to the times that the dryers need.

Currently, the organization is looking at the possibilities for each of the cooperatives, with the aim of not losing many jobs. Specifically, at the meeting they did not speak specifically about the ERTE, since these depend on three different organizations -Labor, Social Security and SEXPE-. However, the most important thing now, says Pacheco, is that the possibilities can be reported.

Variants such as seeing if there are measures at the national level that arise due to inactivity due to force majeure or lack of production. “The result is the same for aid coverage, another thing is how to process it: the ERTE, unfortunately, is going to have to be one of the measures that we have to use in different periods.”

At the moment, all kinds of possibilities are being contemplated, such as, Pacheco points out, training courses are being held while the ERTE is carried out. At the end of the day, what they want from Cooperativas Agro-Alimentarias is for it to be “as least traumatic as possible, even though we have spent months trying to solve it. And thinking that, from 2023, we will return to the normality of these last years.

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