The sparkling wine producer Freixenet and the social representatives of its employees have agreed to introduce short-time work in view of the ongoing drought in the important growing region of Catalonia. The step was taken to counteract the serious shortage of grapes and base wine as a result of the drought, the company announced at the weekend. It is part of the German-Spanish company Henkell Freixenet, which is considered the global market leader for sparkling wine in terms of sales and turnover. The company is based in Wiesbaden and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, not far from Barcelona.

A company spokeswoman recently announced that the Catalan government was not accepting Freixenet’s first application for short-time work because force majeure was not a valid reason in this case, despite the drought. The company therefore formally referred to “economic, technical, organizational or production-related reasons” in a new application. According to the spokeswoman, this will apply to 615 of Freixenet’s 778 employees in Spain – with a reduction in working hours by 20 to 50 percent. Layoffs are expressly not being considered.

The measure is scheduled to come into force in May and is expected to last until December 31st. A spokeswoman said that approval from the Catalan government was not necessary.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, droughts are becoming more frequent and occurring in more places around the world as a result of global warming, and they are also becoming more severe.