In a statement published in the Venezuelan national press, trade unions at the company stated that “It is evident that the Polar conglomerate is carrying out actions against the workers and attempting to create a social explosion within the workplace in order to destabilize the country and undoubtedly damage the electoral process”.
Amongst their criticisms, workers denounced a “disproportionate and arbitrary” increase of between 27% and 37% in the cost of the company’s insurance policy which covers maternity, surgery and hospitalization and cited this increase as a “violation of article 80 of the Law on Company Insurance which states that tariffs must be previously approved by the national superintendent’s insurance office”.
In the text, workers also demanded that the company respect their rights as established in the new workers’ labour law (LOTTT), which was passed in May earlier this year by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“It is essential to make the public aware of the different ways in which workers’ labour and social rights are being violated by the Polar Conglomerate,” read the statement.
They also rejected what they described as a “disrespectful” way of dealing with the issue of paying workers their social benefit bonus, calculated through years of service multiplied by their final wage. Workers complained that the information relating to the calculation of the bonus had not been made available to the various trade unions.
They also reported that there were restrictions and discrimination being carried out against union activity, particularly at Pepsi Cola, which they accused of prohibiting workers from “discussing” workers’ collective contracts and agreements, which “violates article 96 of the Republics’ Constitution”.
“This damaging attitude will not prevent the employees who work for this Business Group from going out on October 7th 2012 and voting in their masses for our socialist project,” stated the document.
Translated and edited by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com