CARACAS, Wednesday November 14, 2012 | Update

Government allegedly trying to uproot collective bargaining agreements

The Independent Front for the Defense of Employment and Unions (Fades) warned about government layoffs in 2013

As many as 400 collective bargaining agreements await renewal (File photo)
Wednesday November 14, 2012  12:02 PM
In recent years, numerous labor protests by different sectors have sparked in Venezuela. Only in October, some 521 demonstrations were reported, 204 of which were labor-related, said the NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Social Unrest.

The main cause is associated with violations of collective bargaining agreements.

Trade unions believe this is not an isolated situation, but a government strategy to uproot both collective bargaining agreements and autonomous trade union movements.

Recent statements made by Executive Vice-President Nicolás Maduro triggered reactions on this issue.

Recently a dispute emerged within the energy sector due to non-compliance with the collective bargaining agreement entered into four years ago. In this sense, Maduro highlighted the need for "putting an end to the framework of collective bargaining agreements, as they have a hideous nature and fail to solve problems."  

Electric Energy Minister Héctor Navarro himself has asserted that the collective bargaining agreement has not been met because collection is not sufficient. Workers with the energy sector have described Navarro's argument as unfounded. The State has met a part of the costs of the latest collective bargaining agreements, in virtue of its policy of frozen electricity rates.

Collective downfall

Collective bargaining agreements continue to dwindle. The Independent Front for the Defense of Employment and Unions (Fades) says today nearly 400 contracts of mayors and governors' offices, ministries, and professional groups are awaiting their renewal.

Further labor instability is imminent. It is believed the State "is preparing massive layoffs," a Fades' member said.

Translated by Jhean Cabrera
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