Cava Producer Freixenet To Lay Off 80% Of Workforce Due To Drought

By Reuters
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Cava Producer Freixenet To Lay Off 80% Of Workforce Due To Drought

Spanish cava producer Freixenet has presented a plan to temporarily lay off 615 workers, close to 80% of the company's total workforce, due to the drought affecting the Penedes area in Catalonia, it said in a statement.

With the move, Freixenet becomes one of the first companies in Catalonia to present a temporary layoff plan, which is expected to come into force in May, due to the persistent drought.

As the impact of fossil-fuel driven climate change intensifies across southern Europe, Spain's Mediterranean of Catalonia, home region to Freixenet, is enduring its worst drought on record.

Exceptional Circumstances

Under Spain's ERTE law, companies that are facing exceptional circumstances can temporarily lay off employees by suspending workers' contracts.

The company did not specify when workers would be allowed to return to work, and the law does not have a set time frame for when companies should re-hire them.


The company said that the implementation of the measures will vary depending on the period of the year and drought conditions.

'The measure, implemented as an exercise of responsibility, is aimed at guaranteeing the viability of the business and preserving employability in order to face external causes and force majeure caused by the severe drought,' it said.

Unions representing the workers did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

An Exceptional Measure

The layoff plan is an exceptional measure caused by the lack of grapes resulting from the severe drought that has been affecting the sector since 2021, and especially in 2023 in the area of El Penedes, its home area, the cava producer said.


The company has presented the plan to the Catalan labour authorities and submitted it to the workers' unions.

Spain has logged its warmest January since records began in 1961 and last year was the country's second warmest, while a recent study showed parts of the Iberian peninsula were suffering from the driest period in 1,200 years.

Vineyards across Catalonia's renowned Penedes cava-producing region are so parched that the roots of 30-year-old vines have died, leaving shrivelled red and green grapes languishing under the intense sun – much to the sector's dismay.

The northeastern region is among the most affected by Spain's long drought.

Scientists have linked scorching temperatures and dry and windy conditions in many parts of the world, including southern Europe, to climate change driven by the fossil fuel industry.

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