Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Worker Rights in Venezuela

The LA Times has a nice article on the Venezuelan's government education of workers on their rights regarding safety:

For President Hugo Chavez's socialist government, the film is more than just entertainment: It's become a teaching tool. Since January, in a bid to expose the evils of "savage capitalism," the Labor Ministry has shown the Chaplin film to thousands of workers in places such as this rundown industrial suburb of Caracas.

When the screenings at factories or meeting halls end, Labor Ministry officials then take their cue, and use Chaplin's plight to spell out worker rights under occupational safety laws passed last year and now being applied. They are part of Chavez's sweeping reform agenda that he calls Socialism for the 21st Century.

As expected the business sector has problems with the films rendition of employers:

But the business community here is hardly applauding the film. In a formal complaint to Chavez last month, the four main employer associations in Venezuela said that showing a movie depicting the boss as a "vulgar exploiter of workers" was designed to "generate hate and resentment in the labor sector" and "demonize the employer."

An official at the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries, one of the four signatories, said that the new workplace laws were another example of Chavez punishing private industry, a process the groups say has been unrelenting since a failed 2002 coup led by businessman Pedro Carmona.

While insisting they don't oppose workplace safety improvements, business groups here say that they weren't consulted before the new laws were drafted and that now workers and their delegates have too much power to intervene in factory operations.

It is so sad that workers would have a say in the conditions in which they provide profits for business owners. So sad. I mean the workers shouldn't have a problem with 1500 of their comrads being killed in factory accidents. Instead the business owners apparently preferred that:

Largely at Picone's insistence, the film has been shown 1,000 times in 14 states and has been effective in educating workers who usually have no clue about their health and safety rights. Labor Ministry officials say it's because the most recent workplace regulations, passed in 1986, were unobserved, a "dead letter."

and they apparently have a problem with :
Inspired by the film and the talk from Labor Ministry officials, he demanded gloves and soap from his employer — and got them. But the assembly line still goes too fast, he said.

Metalworker Miguel Moreno also has seen some improvement. "We have more power because we know more," he said. "They've given me earplugs for the noise, at least."

This statement:

Critics say Chavez is merely recycling the failed protectionist economic policies that many South American nations tried to impose after World War II to keep out foreign capital and competition. The policies were largely jettisoned in the 1980s as countries began embracing free markets and foreign investment.

Makes little sense. Think of Argentina which had followed the IMF/ World Bank /US rules and saw it's economy go down the tubes. It was Venezuela that stepped in and relieved Argentina of its crushing debt. What about Mexico, another US ally, whos largest economic engine appears to be the immigrants it sends to the US to remit money to Mexico. That country, which NAFTA was supposed to provide all kinds of economic growth has resulted in...

I'm not going to say that Chevez's ideas are fool proof but given that the IMF and World Bank has head clear failures, I see no reason for critics to act like the US model is like the biblical Mannah from heaven.


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