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Masiá Ciscar and Polish strawberry pickers – a fruitful co-operation

Masiá Ciscar S.A. is a family-run company based in Finca Las Palmeritas, Spain, producing and selling strawberries, oranges, nectarines and plums. It was founded in the 1970s by Enrique Masiá Ciscar, who is still the company’s director today.

For its yearly harvest, Masiá Ciscar needs some 1500 workers in a variety of positions. Out of these more than 1000 are foreign workers, of whom 60% are seasonal workers, meaning that they work for three months each year during the spring season. Some 30% also work in the autumn season and approximately 50 to 60 of Masiá Ciscar’s employees work all year long.

Enrique Masiá Serrador relies mostly on workers from Eastern Europe – and especially on Poles: “We have started employing Poles in various positions since 2001. Since then our business is running better than ever before. Our experience with Poles as well as with Romanians and Bulgarians has been very good; they take their work very seriously and they understand that the workers and the company must stick together in orders to be successful.” Although the majority of the 600 Poles that work for Masiá Ciscar are strawberry pickers, many also drive buses and trucks and some hold management positions.

Since 2006, Enrique has relied largely upon EURES in order to hire his staff from abroad. “In December 2006, I was looking for strawberry pickers from Poland. One of my employees, Danuta Gomółka, had the idea of contacting EURES in Poland to help with the recruitment process. Mrs Gomółka first contacted Amadeusz Konieczny from EURES Poznań and then got in touch with our EURES Adviser in Huelva, Mr Ricardo Panzuela. And, to my surprise, just one month later I was in Poland myself and was able to recruit 150 strawberry pickers for the spring harvest. Since 2006, we write our employment offer every December and, with EURES’ help, recruit our staff in Poland every January.”

For Masiá Ciscar, EURES has become a very useful tool they can rely on to get the staff they need on time. Although up to 70% of the staff hired each season return to work in the following season, Enrique always needs to recruit according to the market situation, which means that the recruitment process has to remain very flexible. Enrique says that the EURES service is “very good”: “For me, it’s very important that EURES allows for a direct contact between employer and jobseeker. Once EURES has provided us with the contact details, we can directly contact all jobseekers and recruit according to our needs. What is more, I always have the impression that the EURES Advisers really care about their clients: they call us to make sure that everything is going ok or to ask if we need any more staff. You feel that your problem is their problem. Also, if some of our workers have a problem at work or with their flights, EURES always tries to help them.”

But it’s not only Enrique who is very satisfied with the cooperation between EURES and Masiá Ciscar; his company has an excellent reputation with EURES and with their employees. Masiá Ciscar provide free accommodation for all their employees and let their staff use company buses to allow them to go shopping or to go to the beach on Sundays. They provide training to their staff and even after-work entertainment. All this explains why Masiá Ciscar is such a popular employer with up to 70% of their seasonal staff returning for the harvest the following season – all in all, it is a truly fruitful co-operation.

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