29 Jun, 2021 @ 15:45
1 min read

THE WAY FORWARD? How cooperative companies in Spain’s Castellon are beating the COVID crisis

Agricultural coops have traditionally been the strongest in Castellon

COOPERATIVE companies in Castellon are not only surviving the COVID crisis– they have emerged even stronger.

There are currently 365 coops of different types throughout the province that directly employ an estimated 9,000 workers, with 19 new ones set up in 2020 – the worse year of COVID.

Last year’s figure of new cooperative companies is identical to 2019 and 2018, and double the number registered in 2017.

“We shine during economic crises because we are very resilient,” said Emili Villaescusa, president of Valencian regional cooperative confederation Concoval.

While traditionally the strongest coop trades in Castellon have been agricultural and credit, nowadays one of the most popular is associated companies, i.e. where the employees are also the owners of the firm.

In fact, 18 of the new cooperatives created last year belong to this category, which already accounts for 60% of the total in the province.   

Agricultural coops have traditionally been the strongest in Castellon
Agricultural coops have traditionally been the strongest in Castellon

Spokespeople reveal that the secrets of success of their business model are flexibility and self-regulation, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, diversify and create new lines of business.

The difference with traditional companies, they say, is that people always come first and full employment is the priority.

Cooperative firms have proved to be an invaluable refuge in times of high unemployment, continuing to take on workers from the dole and self-employed people looking to improve their working conditions.

This is in part aided by the fact that coops are taxed 20% compared to the 25% of mercantile companies – and the rate can be slashed to as low as 8% if a series of parameters are met, such as employing more workers than the required minimum established by law.  

Supporters of the cooperative model highlight the stability and quality of the jobs created, with 84% of employees on indefinite contracts and 85% employed full time. 


Glenn Wickman

Glenn is a trained and experienced journalist, having obtained a BA Hons degree in Journalism and Communication Studies with Spanish from Middlesex University (London) in 2001.
Since then he has worked on several English-language newspapers in Alicante Province, including 11 years at the Costa Blanca News.
He is trilingual in English, Spanish and Catalán/Valenciano, a qualified ELT teacher and translator with a passion for the written word.
After several years in Barcelona, Glenn has now returned to the Costa Blanca (Alicante), from where he will cover local stories as well as Valencia and Castellón/Costa Azahar.
Please drop him a line if you have any news that you think should be covered in either of these areas, he will gladly get in touch!

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