Citrus packhouse workers in Valencia have called off a planned strike after reaching a tentative pay deal with their employers. The announcement was made on Tuesday following talks between the unions and citrus exporters lasting well into the early hours.
According to reports on local radio station Cadena SER, the new agreement will grant workers a 1.8 per cent salary increase this season, with further annual rises of 1.25 per cent for the next three years. The deal also paves the way for an extra 10 per cent salary for night work.
The walkout, planned for 15-21 December, would have brought packing to a virtual standstill during one of the busiest weeks of the season when approximately 300,000-360,000 tonnes of oranges, mandarins and lemons are packed for the domestic market and for export.
The Citrus Management Committee, the association representing Spain’s biggest citrus exporters, had warned that the strike would cause industry losses of €200m and be the final nail in the coffin for what is already an abysmal season marred by low market prices and losses running into the millions of euros caused by recent heavy rains.