The sociological profile and social issues of the resin worker in Spain

Resin worker showing his work to investigators
Type of data: 
Project results
Personal communication in an INCREDIBLE event (science to practice)

The study advances in the socio-labour reality knowledge of the Spanish workers dedicated to the resin extraction, and in the group perception about aspects related to entrepreneurship and sectorial problems.

To this end, three key aspects are elucidated:

  • The definition of the typical resin workers profiles, and the socio-labour situations that characterise each one of them.
  • The study of the key factors for the incorporation and the abandonment of the resin activity.
  • The sounding of sectorial or professional aspects that the workers consider most relevant to be addressed at present. 

The number of active resin tappers in Spain in 2019 is not well known, but would be around 1,200 workers. These professionals demand support policies from the authorities in the form of territorial contracts to complete and stabilise their work activity, training and guidance programmes and technological improvements. 

The implementation of technical and socioeconomic support initiatives requires knowledge of the target group, their qualities, their shortcomings and their expectations, to adjust and design possible improvement programmes and actions tailored to their needs.

Main results: 

Four socio-labour profiles identified:

  1. Young people with exclusive dedication, inactive between campaigns. 17-21-year-olds.
  2. Partial dedication. Located in less productive pinewood areas.
  3. Exclusive dedication. Located in more productive areas: They extract from 7,000 to 10,000 pine trees. They're about 70%.
  4. Women. Exclusive or partial dedication. About 1%.

Two main entry factors: a refuge from unemployment and desired employment option.

Exit factors: lack of professionalism and knowledge, temporality and lack of economic performance.

The group demands training and mentoring plans.

Main practical recommendations: 

Comprehensive, long-term training programmes must be created that include:

  • Forestry and business training.
  • Program of tutoring and accompaniment to the new resin tapper worker during the first years.

This training system should be based on a network of experienced professionals who connect with those with less experience and knowledge, to support the new resin tappers.

The training must be adapted to the needs of new and veteran resin tappers.

Training actions should be led and supported by the Public Administration as coordinating and managing authority. 

Impacts and weaknesses: 

The study provides a very valuable initial diagnosis because of its bottom-up approach, collecting and ordering contributions from key informants in the resin sector who are particularly knowledgeable about the activity of resin workers.

The population segmentation described allows certain support programmes for the resin sector to be addressed directly, in such a way that they are adapted to the needs of each worker typology, especially in aspects already identified in the study itself, as is the case with tutored training.

The main weakness of the study is the lack of quantitative data.

Future developments: 

This study, funded by the Interreg Sudoe programme, is the first phase of a more in-depth analysis, which will be complemented by a wide-ranging survey of the European resin worker population.

The results shown here will be used to design the forms for the future survey. This second phase will allow for the clarification of aspects already identified and will provide quantitative data that will facilitate the dimensioning of support programmes for the resin workers' collective.

Valladolid University
Cesefor Foundation

Further information

Figure 1 credit: 

Javier Calvo-Simón

Figure 2: 
Resin tapper woman.
Figure 2 caption and credit: 

Resin tapper woman. Javier Calvo-Simón