My latest for the What’s Next Venezuela? Blog. Key bit:
Under private ownership, any complaint the unions take to State Labor Inspectorates tend to be heard sympathetically. The socialist party appointed inspectors are, after all, mostly convinced of the horrors of capitalism and minded to be tough on private owners, demanding that Collective Barganing agreements and labor laws be adhered to absolutely to the letter.
When a firm passes into state ownership, however, that dynamic is reversed. A worker who protests an abuse by the “workers’ government” is seen as, at the very least, a walking contradiction and, more usually, as a dangerous, unreliable element: possibly a saboteur, certainly a counter-revolutionary. And so, the same complaint that will mobilize the state to your defense if you make it against a private employer can easily get you placed on a Black List of counterrevolutionary fifth-columns if you make it against a nationalized firm.