Freixenet in Clash with Catalan Government

The Spanish wine giant wants to put 600 of its employees on short-time working. The Catalan government says it can't. 

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Freixenet headquarters
Freixenet headquarters

It seemed almost certain: Due to the severe drought in Catalonia, the cava giant Freixenet had applied for short-time working for 615 employees at Freixenet S.A. and Segura Viudas S.A.U under the pretext of declared 'force majeure'. However, the Catalan government has now dismissed the application, stating that, under Spain's ERTE labour rules, this is not a valid reason for laying off staff or cutting their hours.

Freixenet reports that whilst respects the government's decision it is currently negotiating with the works council and trade unions to establish a short-time work programme based on "economic, technical, organisational, or production-related reasons" that do fall within the legislation.

The critical shortage of grapes and base wine for cava production, due to extreme drought in the regions of Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès, El Garraf, and Camp de Tarragona, has necessitated significant labor reductions in production processes. Unlike other parts of Spain, these regions did not get any rain over Easter, thanks to the "protective shield" effect of the Pyrenees. Currently, there is no foreseeable end to the drought.

Demands shall be met

Freixenet, along with other cava producers, trade unions, and grape growers, has urged the DO to revise cava production regulations and address the dire supply situation. Although the DO has authorized extraordinary measures for the upcoming harvest, these efforts were deemed not sufficient or timely enough to prevent the need for a short-time work application.

Despite the drought causing a shortfall of 80 million bottles, Freixenet is determined to meet consumer demand in the short and medium term. The company continues to collaborate with all stakeholders in the cava sector to develop solutions


In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Freixenet's "Cordon Negro" brand, Henkell Freixenet is undergoing extensive revisions. Alongside a brand redesign, the Freixenet logo is also receiving an update.

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