In 2023, salaries in the countryside have risen to 4 euros more per daily wage compared to the previous year, an “insufficient” increase for the unions since, in many cases, the salary is “close to” the minimum and, therefore, they expect reactivate the negotiation for the state agreement.
In total, during the third quarter of last year, qualified workers in mixed agricultural activities earned a daily wage of 54.9 euros per day, a figure that has increased during the same period in 2023 until reaching 60.7 euros per day.
This is shown by the data published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) in the report Indices and Agricultural Salaries, where the results of the first, second and third quarters of 2022 and 2023 are compared.
Of the eight agricultural activities analyzed in the report, all have registered an increase in the average daily wage received by workers.
Those who have perceived a greater increase are mobile agricultural machinery operators who have gone from earning 53.6 during the third quarter of 2022 to seeing their daily wages increase to 59.6 euros, six euros more.
The category that has registered the smallest increase in salary during that period of time is that of qualified workers in agricultural activities, with a total of 4 euros more per day, followed by that which includes qualified workers in orchards, greenhouses and nurseries. . .
In general, there has been an increase ranging from 4.2 euros in some categories to 5.8 euros per day, according to the latest data from the Ministry.
Increases linked to the SMI
For the unions, the increases in the field have been “insufficient”, since they have occurred in a context of inflation, increased cost of living and in which, in many cases, salaries in the sector are close to the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI). ). ).
Both the general secretary of UGT FICA, Sebastián Serena, and the head of Workers’ Commissions (CC.OO) Industry, Vicente Jiménez, celebrate with restraint that these increases have occurred, since salaries in the field continue to be “very low” , they have announced to EFE.
The year concludes with seven lower-level agreements signed in 2022 with salary updates that cover almost 22,000 workers, notes Serena.
According to the union’s data, these seven agreements have registered an average salary increase in 2023 of around 3.4%, a percentage “slightly” higher than the last advance CPI in November which marked 3.2% and very close to the year-end forecasts. . which will be at 3.5%.
In the opinion of the head of UGT FICA, this increase is “well below” the 8% increase in the (SMI) over the one set in 2022 during this year.
With all this, the head of the Workers’ Commissions has confessed that “conditions are improving” and points out that the main reason for this improvement is due to the rise in the SMI itself.
Two meetings to resume the agreement in January
With 2023 in the rearview mirror, next year kicks off for the unions with two appointments already on the calendar.
The organizations have announced that they will have two new meetings in January to discuss the negotiation of the state collective agreement for the countryside.
The process to close the agreement is being “slow” and “difficult”, in the opinion of the head of UGT FICA, although he hopes that, before next summer, there will be “significant progress” in this matter.
Neighboring countries, an alternative with better salaries
Last August, journalist Diego García explained that, for about 30 years, he has been traveling to France every season to participate in the grape harvest campaign, a job that allows him and those close to him who also come to save “a lot.” “. money” in just a month and a half.
Under this premise and attracted by the working conditions, some 15,000 Spaniards have participated this year in the French grape harvest, work for which they received 11.52 hours/hour.
Cases such as the grape harvest exemplify what, for the head of UFT FICA, is part of the salary and labor differences between Spain and neighboring countries such as France and Belgium, to which national workers move in search of “better” conditions.
“Working in countries like these allows access to better social benefits that are not available in Spain,” clarifies the general secretary of the agri-food sector of UGT FICA, while indicating that this situation in turn encourages Spain to have to import labor. work from third countries.
For the representative of the Workers’ Commissions, in some cases, the difference between the rural newspaper in Spain and other European countries means that, in cases like France, the salary is 30% higher than the Spanish one.