The left-wing revolutionary trade union confederation ─ the National Front for the Struggle of the Working Class (FNLCT) ─ held a nationwide protest this weekend against corruption and inefficiency in the Socialist Cement Corporation, a state-owned cement company.
They claim that poor administration of the vital enterprise has bought production to a halt, with machines and vehicles in urgent need of maintenance. They demanded greater funding by the central government to re-start production, greater worker participation in the administration of the industry, and a shake-up of the bureaucratic processes which hinder an efficient workplace.
Following the protest, which was held in at least eight different factories across the country, the following public statement was released, in which the trade union centre expressed its concern about some of the recent economic measures and international threats against the Bolivarian process in Venezuela.
National Front for the Struggle of the Working Class (FNLCT)
The National Front for the Struggle of the Working Class (FNLCT) makes the following public statement to fix position on issues of interest to the working class and working people.
1) In view of the aggression plan headed by the United States against Venezuela, with the participation of pro-imperialist governments of Latin America that seek to create an excuse for attacking our country, using the issue of economic migration of numerous Venezuelan citizens, we call on the workers to prepare for the defense of the threatened homeland. We denounce that the aggressive escalation against our country obeys the objective of U.S. imperialism to reinforce its domination in the continent and the world, in the face of the advance of the emerging powers that dispute global hegemony. Faced with such a situation, we are asking for international class unity to show active solidarity with the people of Venezuela in all countries.
2) On the economic measures and the question of wages: the national government is making valid efforts with the objective of stabilizing the economy, but the measures, because they are reformist and do not foresee productive plans, do not act on the structural causes of the crisis of Venezuelan dependent and rentier capitalism. The new minimum wage and the tendency to salarize the incomes of the workers, in general, are positive, but not sufficient in the face of the unstoppable high cost of living; the prices agreed between the Government and a group of bourgeoisie, without workers or popular participation, turn out to be very high for our people. From the FNLCT we insist on the need to establish a sliding scale of salaries using as a reference the consumer price index of the goods and services of the Basic Basket, according to article 91 of the Constitution, and a system of control of costs, prices and profits with active and binding participation of the workers and the people in general.
3) We denounce illegal manoeuvres by the bosses in order not to comply with the new salary decreed: layoffs, forced resignations, illegal retirements, fraudulent closings are all taking place. We call on the workers and the trade union movement in general to confront employer fraud against wages and workplace immobility. We demand forceful actions to enforce the Labor Law from the Ministry of Labor, and, in this framework, workers fired by employers who seek to evade payment of the new salary must be reinstated immediately. Illegally closed companies must be reactivated with their workers.
4) With regard to the new salary scales for the public administration – announced but not yet officialized, these should only be referential “floors” and in no way “ceilings” that attempt against contractual conquests. In this sense, we demand due respect for the principles of progressivity and intangibility of labor rights from the Government, established in the Constitution and in the Labor Law. In no way should amounts or percentage values be established that reduce those established in collective bargaining agreements and contracts. When the amounts and percentage values established by the National Executive are different from those established by a contract, those that are more favorable to workers and employees in the service of the public administration should be applied, that is to say, the principle of the most favorable rule for the worker should be applied.
5) The FNLCT, after we requested it in writing a month ago without obtaining a response, make public our request for a meeting with the Minister of Labor. We insist on the need to reactivate technical working groups and to comply with the labor aspects of the “Unitary Framework Agreement” between the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and the United Socialist Party (PSUV), which have not yet been complied with, particularly the reinstatement of workers illegally fired in the Abastos Bicentenario, sugar mills, CEALCO, Lácteos Los Andes, Polar companies, among other public and private labor entities. Similarly, we demand participation in the “Congress of the Working Class” announced by President Maduro, which should be a space for unitary and broad debate, where the different positions of the factors and currents of the labor and union movement that support the Bolivarian process are known. Our Front has proposals to take from a class based, critical and propositive approach.
Translated with DeepL Translator
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Venezuelanalysis editorial staff.