Workers at the state-run bauxite and aluminium company Bauxilum in Ciudad Guayana, peacefully recovered the main access doors at the plant after it was violently and illegally closed by a right-wing union last Thursday.
Bauxilum workers accompanied by other employees from Ferrominera del Orinoco, Norpro, the construction sector and other primary industries in Guayan, recovered control of Bauxilum after a rally in defence of the company took place on Saturday morning. The workers were also accompanied by other social organisations including communal councils and youth and women’s groups.
The worker and president of Bauxilum Jose China explained that “most of the workers support the process to develop a new social management model within the company, which began a year and a half ago when the president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez decreed that the management of the company should be controlled by workers.”
He also pointed out that the employees at Bauxilum had reached a high-level of political awareness and created a culture of participation and protagonism with regards to the management of their company.
In addition, he highlighted that the act of closing the company’s gates - ordered by Sutralumina on Friday - was totally illegal and broke with the agreements reached that same day between the board of directors, unions and worker control of the company.
“We had discussed 12 points from managerial complaints to transport issues, food, payment for bank holidays, daily wages, security, base elections for worker control, housing grants, holidays and collective bargaining,” he stated.
In the afternoon, the work agenda was broken by Sitralumina when they locked the gates and blocked access routes, preventing workers from entering or leaving in the plant.
“We recognise the worker’s struggle, the right to protest and freedom of trade union organisation as part of the revolutionary government’s policy - but we also demand respect for the right to work for the majority of workers, who want to reactivate the company after it has been affected over the past two years by a decrease in aluminium prices on the international market and by a drought which affected the electrical supply to national industry,” he declared.
He also added that these illegal strikes affect the operative and financial stability of Bauxilum.
“With the support of the Chinese Fund, we are about to initiate important projects in order to return to maximum productivity - like it was before the crisis,” said China.
Jose China urged unions to remain open to dialogue and to continue fighting for their objectives, but without affecting the production of the company.
Bauxilum is expected to form part of the new National Aluminium Corporation, which will constitute one of the main pillars in the consolidation of the ‘non-oil’ industry in the country.
Edited by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com