Almudena Alvarez | Venta de Baños (Palencia) (EFE).- The 200 workers at the Cerealto Siro biscuit factory in Venta de Baños, in Palencia, assure that they are not going to throw in the towel because “there are investors, aid, production and people who know work” and ask the administrations not to leave them aside to avoid the closure of a plant that began its activity half a century ago.
After twelve months with expectations for the future, the workers of the Venta de Baños biscuit factory are experiencing the same despair that seized them just a year ago when the multinational Cerealto Siro announced the closure of the group’s oldest factory. where cookies have been made since 1973.
Same ad, other owners
Now the owners are different, but the announcement is the same and it occurs one year after the established deadline (June 2024) to save the activity and employment or to close permanently.
With the anguish of an expiration date looming over the region, the works council held this Friday assemblies at all shift changes to inform workers of the new scenario.
“We feel cheated,” the president of the company committee, Marimar Rodríguez, confessed to EFE at the end of the first assembly.
At the meeting they held at the Ministry of Industry at the end of May, suspicions began due to the lack of information provided by the new owners of Cerealto Siro about the sale process agreed a year ago within the Competitiveness Plan that saved to the rest of the factories and workers of the group.
The president of the Committee insists that they are still moving in the first point of the Competitiveness Plan, that is, in the follow-up table with the ministry, the Board and the representatives of the workers to facilitate the sale of the company and find investors who buy it.
Lack of clarity
“We want to continue advancing on this issue because we have not had clear answers from the company,” reports Rodríguez, who does not stop showing his anger at the company’s lack of transparency.
In fact, he assures that at the same time that the monitoring table met at the ministry on May 24 to report on the interested companies, in Venta de Baños the management met with the middle managers to inform them that the interested investors had withdrawn and that started the closing process, he explains.
At this point, the committee appreciates the support received from the Junta de Castilla y León and the Ministry of Industry and trusts that the meeting called by the Ministry of Industry in Madrid on June 9, which they will also attend representatives of the Board, the company and the workers, serve to advance in this line.
“I hope that by those dates we already have some clear answer,” insisted Rodríguez, also hopeful with the announcement made yesterday by the Board’s spokesperson, Carlos Fernández Carriedo, about a company interested in buying the factory.
Workers like Isabel, who started working here in 1992 when “she was almost a girl”, Carlos who has been working at Siro for 22 years, Yolanda and Mónica have the same hope.
The four of them live in Venta de Baños and they don’t even want to think about “the blow” that the closure of this factory could mean for a municipality like Venta de Baños and for the region, because half of the workers live in the town and the other half in neighboring towns.
200 direct jobs and “many indirect jobs”
“There are 200 direct jobs and many indirect ones. If a factory closes, the municipality is going to lose a lot”, Carlos assures in statements to EFE.
They all confess to feeling “cheated”, they accuse the company of “lack of transparency” and they have the feeling that “the owners do not want to sell because they have other interests” that could go through relocating production and taking biscuit manufacturing to other plants. from Spain or Portugal, they maintain.
“The company does not want to sell,” says Carlos. “There are investors, there is aid and there are people who know how to work,” he continues.
“Every day kilos of cookies leave the warehouse,” adds Yolanda while insisting that everything that is manufactured is being sold, so it is not a production, sales, or market problem.
“A very fat stick”
“It is a very fat stick and we are going to fight until the last moment. This factory cannot be closed”, says Isabel.
“This decision is a trauma that marks the lives of many families and entire generations because there are many of us who live on this plant,” adds José, who has been commuting every day from Villamuriel de Cerrato for 20 years to his workplace and wants to keep doing it.
“If they close we will not be without a present, we will also be without a future,” he says, while warning that having to move to work in other group factories outside of Venta de Baños will mean a deterioration in working and living conditions of 200 workers and their families.
That is why the workers warn that they are not going to “throw in the towel” and that they are not going to stop fighting to keep the factory open, while the president of the Works Council calls for calm, waiting for what happens throughout the next week and what is raised at the meeting scheduled for Friday at the ministry.
But to be clear, he adds: “we will do whatever is necessary so that the factory does not close.” EFE