Friday, June 9

The lack of generational relief forces a brotherhood from Jerez to hire salaried costaleros to go out at Easter

Easter 2022 left a bad memory for the Brotherhood of the Five Wounds of Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz). The costaleros could not carry out their work with the canopy of María Santísima de la Esperanza and this caused the entire brotherhood to return earlier than expected to the church of San Francisco. There are steps in which there are too many troops and others in which the opposite occurs and for this reason they have had to resort to professionals, known as salaried costaleros.

Ernesto Romero, older brother of the Cinco Llagas, wants to downplay this fact. “Last year we had a problem and we wanted to resolve the issue as effectively as possible. It really is not that strange, in Seville there are professional crews in many towns and the brotherhood of Santa Marta also has one. Some are brothers of the brotherhood and others come from outside. It is a wonderful experience, the foreman is phenomenal and we have 48 men who are going to give their all”.

The most popular brotherhoods have almost never lacked costaleros. In the 60s and 70s, indeed, it was more common for the less famous brotherhoods of Seville to have to find and pay gangs to get under the workers of the Easter steps. Some bearers, in fact, were hired on different days and for different brotherhoods.

Last July, the Brotherhood of the Five Wounds of Jerez de la Frontera announced the measure it had taken with the following explanation: “Only a group of professionals will guarantee one hundred percent, and without any risk, a definitive continuity solution for the coastal area of ​​its canopy passage”.

The amount that is paid is about 60 euros for each of the bearers and it is not something new. Already at the beginning of the 2000s, this system was used in the same brotherhood and now it is resumed. The new foreman, Manuel Jesús Elena, considers that it is a measure that should not be ashamed of. “That the Cinco Llagas has adopted that old model with all the needs it has, seems to me not only courageous, but also coherent. Perhaps we do not know if in the short term some other brotherhood will also have to adopt this model, ”he said in La Voz del Sur.

Francisco Javier Pérez Rodríguez, a brother from Jerez, considers that it is a situation that has occurred in this Brotherhood, but that it contains a general problem: “There are not as many bearers as before and we are in a generational change. The most veterans have left and the youngsters in some cases do not have that responsibility that the older ones have. But it must be made clear that being professionals does not mean that they only go out for money. Some decide to accept a punctual payment, but they can be lifelong brothers.

“I don’t even know how much they’re going to give me”

Mario, a professional costalero who this Holy Week is going to bear financial compensation that he says he does not know, manifests in this line: “I go for the foreman, for the image and for the devotion that I feel. Honestly, I don’t even know how much they’re going to give me.” Expert confreres from Jerez assure that, occasionally, this figure of the salaried costalero has been used in recent years, although it is now when a brotherhood is clearly committed to this solution for one of his steps.

An expert in the matter is the historian Antonio de la Rosa, who was the last foreman to command professional bearers in Jerez. “The entry of wage earners can be a solution. Especially for those complicated steps that are heavy and hard. People do you a favor for a year or two, but by the third year the foreman has to be asking for favors. The costalero charges and the foreman and the brotherhood demands. the world of the costalero has always been a difficult world, ”he says in Diario de Jerez.

The sedentary life, the fatigue of bearers who carry several loads in the same Holy Week, the weight of the pace and complicated hours at dawn make wage earners a more than interesting resource. Some brotherhoods have too many gangs and will never have to opt for this measure, but others already do it without any problem.