Venezuelan Workers Triumph in Mitsubishi Conflict

After more than two months on strike, workers at the Mitsubishi plant
in Barcelona, Anzoategui state, have reached an agreement with the
plant's bosses, obtaining most of their demands.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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Felix Martinez, general secretary of the New Generation Union. (Aporrea)
Felix Martinez, general secretary of the New Generation Union. (Aporrea)
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Mérida, March 23, 2009 (venezuelanalysis.com)-- After more than two months on strike, workers at the Mitsubishi plant in Barcelona, Anzoategui state, have reached an agreement with the plant's bosses, obtaining most of their demands.

According to a Socialist Tide press release, the agreement was reached early on Sunday morning, March 22, with the help of mediation by the Ministry for Work and Social Security.

The agreement follows an initial occupation by the workers on January 12, which police tried to disperse on January 29, killing two workers in the process.

The majority of the workers' demands were accepted. Initially the company had refused to attend the negotiations, prompting the occupation of the factory.  The workers were also occupying in order to demand Mitsubishi hire 135 fired contract workers.

The two parties agreed to begin administration work from today, while they also named a commission of technical inspection made up of various government department representatives, as well as representatives from the company and the union. The commission will spend two weeks inspecting the company and making any necessary repairs.

During this time, workers will not work, but will receive a basic salary, deducted from their first week of paid holiday only.

The fired contract workers will be rehired by the contract company, and their performance will be evaluated for a year. They will have the same rights as Mitsubishi workers, such as health, security, protection, transport for night shift workers, and access to the dining room and locker room.

Lost wages over the strike will be paid in installments, in which some of those payments will depend on a minimum productive output of 60 units per day.

The son of one of the killed workers will receive a pension until he turns 21, and the amount will be same as what his father was earning. The other worker who was killed was working for the company Macusa, who will provide similar benefits.

Mitsubishi paid all the medical, therapy and rehabilitation bills of the injured worker, Alexander Garcia, as well as 100% of his salary for the time he has been off work.

The company will also pay some basic wages for travel to work time as well as for some public holidays that it previously hadn't recognized.

The union promised to avoid retaliatory and intimidatory action against company executives and the company agreed to discontinue any legal proceedings against the workers and their unions.

The Socialist Tide press release called the agreement a "big workers triumph... [the workers] stayed strong and without fear in this struggle and they had representatives elected by them in assemblies, in all the discussions." The New Generation Union "was at the front of the conflict...and they received a lot of class solidarity right from the start from many workers and unions."

On March 17 it was also announced that 14 police were charged with homicide over the shooting of the two protesting workers.

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