Venezuela's communal system is likely to collide with labor model
Law on the Economic Communal System restricts the rights enshrined in the Labor Law
Driving Venezuela towards a "communal State" implies two concomitant labor structures: one governed by the Labor Organic Law and another regulated by a set of communal laws, endorsed in 2010 by the Executive Office.
The second strategic goal set by the government under the Country Plan 2013-2019 is "to energize the people's involvement in communal systems." The intention is that in a six-year term 68% of Venezuelans should live in "subsystems of commune aggregation."
This entails the development of a socialist production model which, based on the Organic Law of the Economic Communal System, should be oriented towards "the removal of the social division of labor, return of resources, social duty, a culture of savings and social reinvestment of the surplus."
As a matter of fact, trade union leaders close to the Venezuelan government emphasize that socialism will try to overcome the division in the labor frame, no matter that the Labor Organic Law acknowledges the concept of employers and workers.
Juan Carlos Pró-Rísquez, a professor of Labor Law at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), also notes that the communal model makes no room for collective labor agreements because profits are reinvested in the commune itself.
This is not the only stumbling bloc for workers. Add to this the constrained right to protest. The Law on the Economic Communal System imposes imprisonment from two to four years on anyone who hampers or hinders the chain of production, distribution and access to goods and services.
For its part, the Labor Organic Law vests in workers the right to strike once all the means of compromise and settlement have been exhausted.
"In one single country, there will be two different legal realities. People working in communes, for whom the Labor Law usually does not apply, and private business, where the State will enforce the labor law," Pró-Risquez admonished.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
María Fernanda Astudillo is a store analyst for Alimentos Polar working at the company's facilities in La Yaguara. At only 23 years of age, she has made a career in that company where she has worked for the last six years. Now, besides her responsibilities, which include overseeing shipping/receiving and warehousing of goods, she is taking part in the roundtable discussions among the other companies operating in the La Yaguara industrial park, the Government and the workers exploring possible ways of coping with the order to expropriate the land.