Venezuelans Celebrate May Day after Passing of Far-Reaching Labour Law

Following the passing of the new labour law yesterday, Venezuelans celebrated May Day en masse today, many catching buses to Caracas for the main march, others joining the smaller marches in cities and towns around the country.

By Tamara Pearson
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The May Day march in Caracas (AVN).
The May Day march in Caracas (AVN).

Mérida, May 1st 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com)– Following the passing of the new labour law yesterday, Venezuelans celebrated May Day en masse today, many catching buses to Caracas for the main march, others joining the smaller marches in cities and towns around the country.

Many people held up placards saying, “The new labour law = respect for the worker” and “The labour law is social justice”. Highlights of the law include a small reduction in the working week, the outlawing of outsourcing, and longer paternity and maternity leave.

“We’re marching to tell the whole world that in Venezuela we march for the happiness that this revolution is giving us,” said minister for indigenous peoples, Nicia Maldonando

“This new [labour] law is something that not only the workers of Venezuela deserve, but those of all Latin America and the world deserve it,” said Vargas mayor, Alexis Toledo.

“Today [May Day] is a day of struggle for workers in a large part of the world, but here in our country it is a day of celebration,” Toledo said.

Meanwhile, Vice-president Elias Jaua argued at the march that a “strong, grassroots” union organisation, which unites all the other unions and that “abandons factionalism so it can become a powerful class force” should be the new goal of the worker struggle.

Today the new minimum monthly wage of Bs 1,780 (US$ 414) comes into effect.

During last year’s May Day, the new Work and Knowledge Mission was announced. Since then over 700,000 people have registered in the mission as needing work, and some have already begun training.