Marino Alvarado │ The “savings bank”, a benefit that allowed working class individuals to obtain loans to buy houses, cars, furniture or plan family vacations were left unused
The self-proclaimed blue-collar government has become a nightmare for blue-collar workers in Venezuela. In addition to harassing, persecuting, and jailing union leaders, it has pulverized the core achievements made by the working-class movement.
The sufficient salary for a worker and their family has been reduced to nothing. It is the lowest in the continent and perhaps the world. The current salary in addition to complementary benefits barely covers a day or two of food – let alone other basic needs such as clothing, health, and education.
The hyperinflation resulting from the inefficiency and disdain from Maduro and his cronies, that support him in destroying the country, produces greater hunger and misery in low income households.
The collective bargaining agreement, designed among other goals to increase federal salaries, has been practically eliminated. Not only are they no longer negotiated, but other socio-economic benefits have been pulverized. Not long ago, a worker – interviewed by the media – denounced a school supply benefit she received of 20,000 bolivares, an amount insufficient to even buy a single eraser.
Furthermore, the government imposes thousands of obstacles to discuss the bargaining agreements and related agreements with the public sector, or refuses to do so. In the case of doing so, they get approved on paper but then fail to meet the basic, key clauses of such agreements.
The “savings bank”, a benefit designed for workers to obtain loans for households, cars, furniture, or plan family vacations were left unused because these savings were essentially rendered useless due to inflation, and whatever monetary value they now hold are too small to cover any basic needs.
The social security benefits have been destroyed. Those in power today rose to power with the promise of rescuing them. They modified the Organic Law for Work to such ends, and a decade later demolished them, to the extent that workers today laugh at their mention and do not even bother to claim their social security benefits since they know them to be useless at this point. Workers with 25+ years of service would theoretically receive social security benefits of approximately $10.
A significant percentage of trials in labor courts were processing social security claims. Today, the labor courts are desolate as workers understand that it makes no sense to present lawsuits for social security benefits since the expected monetary yield from the trial would not be enough to cover lunch, even after years of litigation.
There are similar situations currently underway with the labor inspector. They rarely work these days as workers no longer present claims, as historically there have been numerous bureaucratic obstacles requiring lengthy delays and waiting for responses.
There remain a number of other benefits that have been reduced or eliminated by the dictatorship.
Maduro, a former trade unionist, has become a real tragedy for the Venezuelan working class.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lawyer, Coordinator of Investigation, Monitoring and Dissemination of Provea.