Aluminum Workers Protest in Guayana, Venezuela

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Mérida, April 17th 2009
( — On Wednesday, workers from Venezuela's aluminum sector
protested in Guayana City, Bolivar state, over the lack of operation of several
plants and the concern that some wages would not be paid. The workers also
demanded that government authorities rescue the companies through more investment.

The workers come from Bauxilum, Carbonorca, Venalum,
and Alcasa, companies that are affiliated to the Venezuelan Corporation of
Guayana (CVG), a government-owned "Socialist" corporation. They also come from
the steel plant, Sidor. Approximately 400 workers were involved in the protest.

CVG on its website, describes itself as a
"decentralized state-owned enterprise… [which] accepts the challenge to
properly and sustainably [sic] take advantage of the valuable…minerals…to
foster national development through economic diversification based on a policy
of strategic alliances with domestic and foreign, public and private capital."
It is made up of 15 enterprises and over 18,000 employees across 5 states.

A workers news website, reported that
four aluminum factories are "in their worst operative state in history" and
that the workers are demanding that the national government listen to their
petitions and proposals around the improvement and financing of these

Manuel Díaz from the Union of Professional University
Workers (Sutrapuval) argued that the four presidents of the factories need to
resign for not looking for solutions and for "taking the benefits and salaries
of the workers." also reported that union leadership told
a press conference that workers haven't received their food tickets, the
dinning room service was canceled for administrative workers and day workers,
amongst other problems. They also said that aluminum production has gone down
from an average of 17,000 tons per month to 10,000 tons.