The headquarters of Thielmann Portinox in Pulianas. IDEAL
Steel shortage forces closure of Granada's beer barrel factory for two days at busiest time of year

Steel shortage forces closure of Granada's beer barrel factory for two days at busiest time of year

The Acerinox strike in Cadiz has affected the supply of the Portinox factory, causing uncertainty among the 300-strong workforce

Mercedes Navarrete


Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 23:01


The consequences of a strike that has been going on for three months by the workers of the Spanish multinational Acerinox, one of the world's leading steel manufacturers, based in Los Barrios, Cadiz, have now reached Granada.

The stoppage at one of its main suppliers has left the Thielmann Portinox factory, which manufactures beer barrels for the hotel and catering industry, without stainless steel during its busiest time of year.

The shortage of raw materials led to the complete closure of the Granada factory, located on the Pulianas road on 29 and 30 April, the company has announced.

"Previously, we had suffered reductions in working hours on alternate days. Between the two days of total stoppage, the local holidays and the bank holiday on the first of May, we had a nine-day break while waiting for raw materials from other suppliers. This week production has resumed, but the situation is worrying and we are waiting", summarises the president of the Thielmann Portinox works committee, Juan Bayo.

The Granada factory employs around 300 people "who had to leave early because of this problem", according to Bayo. Sources at Thielmann Portinox explained to SUR's sister newspaper Ideal that in addition to the cut in supplies from Acerinox, an "essential" supplier, another of the main suppliers, a Finnish group, has been affected by a transport strike.

"The industrial sector is no longer as predictable as it used to be, we are a global company and any external circumstance at international level affects us directly," said the company, which has its national headquarters in Granada.

The company has been forced to find alternative suppliers and have said that they will be able to keep up production just as breweries are stocking up on barrels of beer for the summer. "We are back to normal production", Thielmann Portinox has said.

Negotiated furlough

The company, which was forced to carry out temporary redundancy plans due to the stoppage in the hotel and catering industry during the pandemic, stressed that it has negotiated furlough conditions with the unions in order to respond "flexibly and quickly" to unforeseen events and stress that for the moment there are no new stoppages planned at the Granada plant.

However, the works council is concerned about ongoing supply problems as the strike coincides with a possible change of ownership of as HeritageB, the Swiss holding company that owns Thielmann Portinox, intends to sell the company. "There is a bank in charge of the sale and we are waiting to see who buys us", the committee explained.

In addition to this scenario, salary negotiations are currently under way, with staff asking for wage increases to compensate for the pandemic years and the increase in 2021, 2022 and 2023, which was limited to two per cent. "We are hopeful, but we do not rule out the possibility that war drums may be beating at Thielmann Portinox," the committee chairman stressed.

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