The dairy employer offers a 4.5% salary increase and two recovery payments
The National Federation of Dairy Industries (FeNil), which is made up of 60 companies that process 95% of the milk produced in Spain, has decided to offer unions, a 4.5% wage increase for more than 30,000 workers. In addition to two recovery payments so that they do not lose purchasing power and salaries can be updated according to the variation of the CPIas established by the agreement according to a statement.
Specifically, the dairy industry agreement registered in 2021-2024, by CCOO, UGT and employers, establishes a wage increase equivalent to the CPI for its four years of validity, but establishes in its article 24 a safeguard clause that indicates that, “in the event that in any of the years of validity of the collective agreement the real CPI is very high at rates similar to those have occurred in 2021, either party may request a meeting of the negotiating committee as a matter of urgency, which must take place within a maximum period of 15 days, for the purpose of adopting the necessary agreements to manage the impact of the CPI”.
The federation has indicated that the purpose of this clause is to avoid an “impossible impact in periods of very high inflation”such as the current one, which could “put the viability of the industry at risk”, especially SMEs, which represent 95%, and, therefore, employment.
Since the CPI for 2022 closed at 5.7% and to comply with the provisions of the last paragraph of the aforementioned article of the agreement, during the months of January, February and March 2023 several meetings have been held between employers and unions in which no agreement has been reached.
“Lack of will” of the unions
According to the dairy employers, in these meetings, “only” the business representatives have raised proposals, all of which have been rejected by the workers’ representatives, “which demonstrates the negotiating will of the employers and the lack of such will on the part of the unions.”
In this way, the last offer made by the employer implies a update of salaries according to the CPIapplying a 4.5% increase from January 2023 (of which 1.5 points correspond to the 2021 financial year) and postponing the collection of the equivalent of the remaining 2.7% for a few months, which will be made in two recovery payments within of the validity of the agreement.
The employer has stressed that This formula substantially improves the one already agreed with the UGT and CCOO for the 2021 financial year (when the CPI was 6.5%) and would allow workers in the sector not to lose purchasing power. And in turn, the dairies would have some margin to face the payment of the wage increase, at a time when they are greatly affected by the increase in costs and the survival of many companies is in danger.
In this way, the employers, despite the union refusaladvocates reaching an agreement within the framework of the negotiating commission and thus not prosecute the conflict, which would allow workers to start collecting their salaries from January 1, 2023 with a 4.5% salary increase.