Worker Case Study

Luis Victorio Prado, La Riojana co-operative worker and beneficiary of the Fairtrade funded micro credit scheme.

Luis is one of the longest standing workers within the La Riojana co-operative having first started working for the winery in 1978. He lives close to the main production facility in Chilecito, La Rioja province and works within our maintenance department.

He explains why he first decided to join La Riojana: “In 1978 there was a job vacancy in the co-operative maintenance department for a mechanic – welder. I had good references and I felt I had a good chance of getting a secure job.”

His job involves carrying out general maintenance work on the machines and main facilities within the main La Riojana production facility. “What I most enjoy is the mechanical work that is needed to maintain the general machinery,” he says.

The work, he adds, can be quite challenging. “Particularly transporting the machinery to different wineries, and all the disassembly and reassembly of machines that is required to install the right equipment in different wineries.”

Luis is also a beneficiary of the FORCRESOL* initiative, which was started in 2010 through investment of the Fairtrade Premium, and helps provide financial assistance to employees of the La Riojana co-operative. He is particularly grateful for the support and help the scheme has provided him and his family.

“I have benefited from the access to micro credits awarded by the FORCRESOL programme. Mainly because they are more accessible and have zero financial cost.”

He adds, “On top of the help we get from FORCRESOL, my family has also benefited from the Fairtrade-funded school kits, which my grand daughter has received.”

He says he is very grateful for the support of all the people around the world who buy La Riojana Fairtrade wine and appreciates the impact that their purchase then has on the workers and families that help make it.

He explains: “By buying our wine, people are enabling us to maintain Fairtrade, something that we value highly. The wines we produce at La Riojana are also very good quality and comply with very strict procedures.”

Luis is particularly excited about the building of a new Fairtrade-funded sports and recreation facility for La Riojana’s workers, members and their families.

“It is going to be a space which we can enjoy as a family, and also with our co-workers here at La Riojana and our friends. A place where we will be able to play sport, have a game of football, spend our free time, enjoy a barbeque and hold family celebrations, like birthdays, baptisms and communions. It will also be a place where my children and my grandchildren can go to whenever they want.”

* FORCRESOL is a micro credit scheme run by La Riojana co-operative. It was first introduced in 2010 and was initially set up by using money raised by the Fairtrade Premium. The main objective of the fund is to provide financial assistance to La Riojana’s workers and to make access to credit more accessible. The fund itself is rotating which feeds from the monthly instalments paid by its beneficiaries. The higher the fund, the more people it can help with financial support and credit. The maximum amount of credit granted is equivalent to any individual worker’s salary and the maximum repayment period is nine months.

December 2015