Mérida, 30th July 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government has approved US $159 million (684 million BsF) to pay social benefit and overtime payments due to workers in Venezuela’s state owned industries in the Guayana region in eastern Venezuela.
The move is expected to benefit 30,000 workers in 15 heavy industries coordinated by the government’s Venezuela Guayana Corporation (CVG), which extract and manufacture primary resources such as iron, bauxite, gold, and other mineral resources.
Industries minister Ricardo Menendez confirmed the measure on Saturday, as well as stating that government policies have benefited the CVG companies.
“It’s the [Bolivarian] revolution that nationalised the [CVG] companies and took them back as the patrimony of the republic, and guaranteed the job of every worker,” he said.
Including the re-nationalisation of the massive Sidor steel plant in 2008, the Venezuelan government has nationalised several industries in Venezuela which are considered as “strategic” to controlling the country’s natural resources and boosting production toward the needs of Venezuelan society.
Menendez further commented that the government of President Hugo Chavez has invested over US $5.81 billion (25 billion BsF) to construct a “new stage” in Venezuela’s heavy industries.
Chavez first announced the payments to CVG workers last Sunday 22 July, calling them an act of “social justice”.
“This demonstrates the commitment of comandante Chavez to the workers…it’s the president who incorporated sub-contracted workers and created the (new) Labour Law,” said Menendez.
According to the industry minister's press statement, the funds granted by the government were calculated by the CVG, which received requests from each of the 15 companies as to what they required to pay the benefit payments due to their workers.
Regional Guayana newspaper, the Correo del Caroní, criticised the money released by the government as “negligible,” arguing that it only represented 17% of what the CVG aluminum companies requested in March to tackle debts owed to workers.
The Venezuelan government expects to approve further funds for overtime and benefit payments owed to CVG workers in August, using the newly-created National Savings Fund for Workers.
The Ministry of Industries was created in November 2011 through a government restructuring of the administration of Venezuela’s heavy industries. The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining was also created as a result. The petroleum and mines ministry is currently headed by Rafael Ramirez, who also heads state oil company PDVSA.