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The Granada ammunition factory in El Fargue. Alfredo Aguilar
Spanish munitions business triples workforce to help war effort in Ukraine
Business

Spanish munitions business triples workforce to help war effort in Ukraine

The manufacturing plant in Andalucía's Granada province hopes to win part of the 1.3 billion euro military aid package announced this week by the Spanish government

Mercedes Navarrete

Granada

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 20:25

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At a time when ammunition is being used in Ukraine at a faster rate than the West is able to manufacture it and when the geopolitical situation has boosted the defence industry worldwide, the Fábrica de Munición de Granada (Granada ammunitions factory) has increased its activity to the highest levels in its recent history. The El Fargue facility is working at full capacity to meet demand since the increase in contracts resulting from European defence aid being sent to Ukraine.

"Due to the current geopolitical situation, all defence factories have increased their activity and we are a reference in ammunition, supporting the armed forces of many countries," explained the director of the Granada factory Antonio Caro Chena.

Since it was taken over by the Slovakian company MSM Group at the end of 2020, the factory has tripled its workforce and currently employs 287 people, of whom 121 have permanent contracts. 106 are contracted through temporary employment agencies and there are a further sixty sub-contractors including maintenance staff. This is the highest number of workers since 2008.

"We have contracts that ensure the workload and stability in the medium term, but also in the long term the company is preparing investments in both new production lines and new products to ensure the future and to continue to be a benchmark factory in our market," says the factory manager.

"The company is preparing investments in both new production lines and products to secure the future"

On Monday 27 May the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, announced a bilateral agreement that includes the delivery of 1.13 billion euros in military support to Ukraine, which will be used for weapons, especially anti-aircraft systems.

The Granada-based company has received no official communication yet, but is convinced that part of this aid will pass through the factory. "As ammunition manufacturers, we are waiting for contracts from the government to fulfil this promise made to the Ukrainian government," said the director.

"At a time when Europe is moving towards a common defence policy, this factory has a key role to play".

The secretary of the Federation of Industry, Construction and Agriculture of the UGT trade union, Francisco Ruiz Ruano, said that in a province where industry is just 7.5% of its GDP, well below the national average, a factory that generates "stable employment with rights" is very important compared to a service sector linked to more precarious working conditions.

He also said that it is "strategic" because of the role that the industry plays in stabilising the population in a "more depressed" area such as El Fargue, Beas de Granada, Víznar, Alfacar and the whole of the north of Granada.

For this reason, the trade unionist emphasises the need to demand "responsibility" from the political parties when it comes to mixing politics with the defence industry. He argued that the Granada factory is "very sensitive to political decisions that have a direct impact on employment".

This was seen last week with Borkum, the ship which brought raw materials for the Granada factory and other defence companies and left without making a stop in Spain, amid the controversy sparked by the allegation that it was carrying material for Israel.

"At a time when Europe is moving towards a common defence policy, beyond Nato, supplies are going to be reorganised and this factory has a fundamental role to play," Ruiz Ruano said.

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