Cava producer Freixenet and unions agree to partial furlough for over 600 employees

Staff will see working hours reduced between 20% and 50% due to "lack of grapes caused by drought"

The entrance to Cavas Freixenet, Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, pictured in 2018
The entrance to Cavas Freixenet, Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, pictured in 2018 / Gemma Sánchez
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 4, 2024 02:12 PM

May 4, 2024 06:46 PM

The Freixenet group has reached an agreement with unions over conditions for a partial furlough

The announcement from the Catalan cava and wine producer on Saturday comes less than a week after the government rejected their application to implement temporary layoffs, which cited the ongoing drought as a force majeure event. 

The 615 workers affected at Freixenet and Segura Viudas will see their working hours reduced by between 20% and 50% from May 13 until the end of the year to counter "the lack of grapes and base wine, caused by the extreme drought that has been increasing since 2021," a statement said. 

Negotiations with the workers' representatives had been "quick and constructive," the company said. 

"The intensity of the measure will be adapted according to the time of year and the effects resulting from the drought," the group said.  

Freixenet also said that it will compensate the affected staff with "additional supplementary aid" on top of the public-funded subsidy they will receive. 

Union welcomes deal 

The USOC said in a statement on Thursday that the agreement was "very positive." 

The measure will affect all staff, except those who are partially retired or work reduced hours, they explained. 

Workers will earn around 95% of their salary, including the company's top up to unemployment benefit. 

Temporary layoffs rejected 

The government informed Freixenet on Monday that it did not see the "unforeseeable and unavoidable" elements to justify force majeure in the company's original plan for temporary layoffs. 

The Department of Business and Labor will not have to authorize the new partial furlough plan. 


Just south of Barcelona, Penedès is the home of cava and Catalonia's most famous wine region. 

Many winegrowers in the region have voiced fears for this year's crop due to the drought, despite rain in recent weeks. 


To learn more about history of cava production in Catalonia, and the challenges faced in recent years by producer, listen to the podcast below