Photo: El Nacional retrieved

“I’ve worked here all of my life, I came when I was in college, I was really young. I started as a secretary and earned more and more responsibilities.”

Paula sighs when thinking of the past: “Now all that time and effort don’t mean anything.”

It’s been more than a month since the government started its so-called “Program of Recovery, Growth and Economic Prosperity,” but it’s obvious that it’s not having the desired results for the population, and one of the sectors hit after the “red package” is that of public servants.

Recent days have seen a spike in protests in various companies and government institutions all over the country. Motivated by the great dissatisfaction with the latest adjustment of salaries for public administration (and the threat hanging over 500 collective bargaining agreements, according to estimates made by Froilán Barrios, leader of Movimiento Laboralista), workers from different sectors have voiced their complaints in the only way they know how.

Recent days have seen a spike in protests in various companies and government institutions all over the country.

The program, designed by President Nicolás Maduro himself (or so he claims), established a minimum wage of Bs.S. 1,800 (Bs.F. 180,000,000), which the government will pay to all workers through the carnet de la patria for three months, while their actual employers will cover the difference of each salary for each employee.

But in the country with the highest inflation in the world, the new wages’ purchasing power collapsed in weeks. According to estimates by the Center for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (Cedice Libertad, one of the country’s most influential think tanks), “by September 30, the average consumption of 61 goods and services of a three-member family was Bs.S. 20,102.79 (Bs.F. 2,010,279,000)”, in other words, at least 11 minimum wages.

In this regard, Steve Hanke, professor at Johns Hopkins University and expert in hyperinflationary processes, has pointed out that the bolívar soberano has lost half of its value in merely 19 days.

Paula, for example, works at CANTV and, since the Madurazo, she earns the minimum announced and not a crumb more. Everyone at her office is in the same situation: “It makes no sense that someone who’s just starting at the company gets the same as someone with 15 years here. Now the janitor, the manager, the secretary, everyone earns same. Nonsense.”

“I can’t complain to my bosses, because they’re screwed, too.”

Luis works at Electricidad de Caracas, the power company for the capital. “When I got here, it was a private venture,” he says. “The job was a great opportunity, pay was good and you had chances to grow.”

Since the company went public, a lot of things have changed: “At first, we all got the minimum wage, now we get some weird bonuses. Actually, we don’t know what we’re getting for payment, or why.”

At first, we all got the minimum wage, now we get some weird bonuses. Actually, we don’t know what we’re getting for payment, or why.

“What happens is that you rather have fewer responsibilities, because the difference in wages is minimal,” he says. “It affects the whole company. I’m a professional, with courses abroad, why do I have to earn the same as a new worker?”

In view of such a volatile and uncertain panorama, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Corporación Eléctrica Nacional (Corpoelec), Compañía Anónima Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV) and Siderúrgica del Orinoco “Alfredo Maneiro” (Sidor), are only a few of the companies where workers have dared to publicly show their dissatisfaction.

According to studies made by the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS), there were 894 protests in August 2018 alone, which represents a 20% increase compared to the same month, last year. The OCVS reports 347 protests for labor rights, led by workers from the healthcare, university, electric, telecommunications and transport sectors, who also reject the economic measures implemented by the Executive Branch.

However, the lack of empathy within some pseudo-management areas in the revolution has caused both discontent and authentic expressions of outrage, which have gone viral on social networks, as is the case of PDVSA Monagas’ director, José Delgado, who demanded the already impoverished employees of the State-run company to have “revolutionary strength.” You can see how the employees reacted to such nonsense:

In Guayana, there are daily protests now, and they include vehicles in flames and roadblocks from Puerto Ordaz to the state’s capital, Ciudad Bolívar, just like the guarimbas they claim to have fought against in the past.

In the words of Iván Freites, head of the United Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela (Futpv), the imposition of a minimum wage beyond what was discussed in the agreements “violates the National Constitution and the Framework Law on Labor which is the basis for collective bargaining agreements.”

The demands are essentially the same: respect the figure of collective bargaining agreements. Paradoxically, a government that claims to be “for workers,” is now threatening the rights conquered through decades of union movements in the country, achieved under more understanding administrations.

Orwellian and very chavista, folks.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Considering how hard most of these people work (insert sarcasm emoticon here)…and the level of their expertise…

    The janitor deserves MORE than everyone else.

  2. They got their jobs by promising to attend Chavista rallies and vote Chavista. And that’s how it will continue to be.

    Why are they surprised, let alone outraged, that Chavismo doesn’t give a shit about their complaints? They’ll just get new enchufados to take their place for less Bs.

    It’s a wonderful example of poetic justice.

  3. “It makes no sense that someone who’s just starting at the company gets the same as someone with 15 years here. Now the janitor, the manager, the secretary, everyone earns same. Nonsense.”

    “I’m a professional, with courses abroad, why do I have to earn the same as a new worker?”

    But, Comrades, that is the Communist creed: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need!” You must get with the program!

    Or, to put it another way: “Communism is a system where everyone shares equally in the poverty.”

      • Actually the socialists credo not The communist credo says from each according to his ability to each according to his work.

        Because the theory goes communism not socialism now is the ultimate fruition of Marxism and it takes place when there is absolute abundance and nobody lacks anything they need or reasonably would want. So Venezuela’s practice is a violation all around of Marxism certainly as far as Labor Relations go. These workers are very well within their rights to demand for example after 15 years of being a highly skilled worker or a supervisor or manager is more productive can someone who got hired yesterday to sweep the floors.

        • Highly skilled?

          Have you been to Venezuela lately?

          Where no one is skilled, except skilled in corruption and complicity in a dictatorship?

          Curse Poeta all you want, but he’s one of the few here who knows what he’s talking about.

          • The truth shall set you free..

            Crap pueblo people sure don’t like to hear it when they deserve it.

            They should all run to Haiti. Perhaps they are “over-qualified” there too.

          • Curse Poceta Cshit.. you bet.. and you too Irate.

            I know and have many highly skilled friends and former colleagues still in Venezuela. Engineers and geologists that were better qualified coming out of UDO than the same from UTulsa, TA&M or CSM. Also technicians, mechanics, accountants, lawyers, and independent business people, etc. They cannot leave for various reasons. Though never chavistas they got blown out of the water, work and business, similar to those yesterday by hurricane Michael which didn’t see coming until too late.

            So yeah, I’m gonna be on you and PCshit like stink on shit until you temper your rants, (or maybe don’t hit the keyboard when you’re hitting the bottle?) against “all” or “every” or “no one “ or “nobody”. There are good people still,there, I have extended family, and many friends.. they are not YOUR described ignorant, lazy, corrupt,, enchufado indians.

            Maybe you feel better, maybe Poceta Chit feels better after his +1,000 words, repeated rants. Maybe PShit uses his rant time to avoid his cuima wife and family, But there is no value to your words.

            You threatned me before.. come at me bro… but I won’t accept your disparagements against a minority taint my friends.

  4. There is some serious cognitive dissonance going on here.

    Earlier this day Mr. Martinez wrote a piece where “Maduro Wins the Public Opinion Battle..”. According to the article there is a significant part of the population that is waiting for Maduro to get them out of their misery through his crazy-ass economic measures.

    Then we get this article that shows that people are fed up of the miserable life they have and protesting. Moreover, even fanatic Chavistas from Aporrea are admitting that they are losing the fake Guerra Economica.

    I’m willing to call bullshit on the polls.

    • Yup, double bullshit. That is why I called Mr. Martinez fake opposition and childish son of an enchufado.

      The key is organizing a general strike that includes public sector workers. Nobody except the unemployed monkeys and enchufados want communism.

  5. “Since the company went public, a lot of things have changed:”

    I gather, “taking a company public,” has an entirely different meaning in Venezuela than, say, in El Imperio?

  6. The U.S. economy went through a long period of “stagflation,” from about 1965 to 1980 (Nixon, Ford, Carter) after coming off the gold standard. The scariest thing was that no-one seemed to know what to do about it, other than blame greedy businessmen and wring their hands over, “the end of Western Civilization as we know it today.” Policy makers were convinced inflation was the price for acceptable unemployment rates, but we ended up with both (unemployment over 12%). Some would say it was the primary incentive for the formation of OPEC.

    Two things then happened: 1) Arthur Burns and other ex Fed Reserve Chairmen formed a bi-partisan task force to fight inflation and said, in essence, “Fuck it! Inflation is one thing we can cure in this sick economy so let’s do it!” and convinced the Fed to raise rates and tighten monetary policy and to hell with all the consequences other than to bring inflation under control. 2) Milton Friedman went on a speaking/publishing spree to get the government out of micromanaging the economy and give free enterprise a chance to work it’s magic. The boom years of the Reagan presidency was the result (“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”).

    The point is, runaway inflation is the Big Kahuna in a sick economy, and until it is tamed, nothing else really matters.

    • Okay. I’m sold.

      But what about negative inflation/deflation?

      What are its causes, and consequences?

      I know it’s rare, but it happens, doesn’t it?

        • The Fed was created to guard against negative inflation=deflation=depressions; until then, the early 1930’s, the U.s. had had a basically stable consumer price level (inflation being cancelled out by deflation) for some 100 years. Since the creation of the Fed we have ongoing/continuing inflation as a policy goal, which will continue until they run out of inflationary ammunition, as we may be nearing, when even more quantitative easing/ lowered interest rates doesn’t supply sufficient juice, and even negative interest rates may have to be tried.

  7. “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill

    • “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
      Ronald Reagan

  8. “MY SHIT SANDWICH TASTES SHITTY, AND HER IS BIGGER THAN MY SHIT SANDWICH! I WANT A BIGGER, BETTER TASTING SHIT SANDWICH!”

  9. These “public servants” are worthless, uneducated, corrupt ENCHUFADOS. Leeches that don’t work.

    CRAP people. They deserve every piece of shit and misery they are getting. For they are COMPLICIT worthless crap. Not all, but roughly 95.93% of them worms.

    If they don’t like it anymore, because the chanchullos and the freebies ran out, have a nice bath on Rio Guaire for me. Enjoy.

  10. PUBLIC $ERVANT$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in KLEPTOzuela.

    “Over-qualified”. ” Under-paid” – You gotta be shitting me.

    They should all hitchhike a ride to Peru or even Ecuador, and work for the first time in their pathetic, corrupt Chavistoide lives.

  11. There is no hiding the incompetence and sloth and forked-tongued jive seen throughout the public sector, which never worked well or honestly (or even pretended to be) back in the 90s – and forever before. But not ALL public workers are shysters and fools. That’s all-or-nothing thinking, known in psych as a “thought distortion.” Of course Sr. Poetica has a punto, pero there still are some critical services that are semi-functional, and if the workers strike, and throw the huelga gigante, you’ll have chaos.

    Dig this: When the petro, electricity, and phone companies have the balls to speak up, they might have to balls to strike. Doubt it, but maybe. And that’s gonna leave a mark. And quickly.

    • Those companies are disfunctional and hardly providing adequate service as it is.

      Why would a total stoppage make any difference?

      And why would they strike, when they get a box of CLAP crap that couldn’t even feed my dogs adequately?

      Venezuela is a nation of lowered expectations, and they get lower every day.

  12. These “workes” are All PSUV voters, It’s impossible having any type of job at a regime ‘s stolen company if one doesn’t vote Rojo Rojito. Every single one of those “workers” is completely complicit at keeping the status quo for this dictatorship. Every single one of them should suffer as much as humanly possible for it are these people that had no problem sucking Venezuela’s private enterprises dry. I’ve seen it up close with my wife’s family, the huge salaries and even bigger bonuses for absolutely everybody were out of this world. They had “that good life” that all cunt chavistas are so desperately longing back for. So like the saying goes “eat shit and die”!

  13. “Paradoxically, a government that claims to be “for workers,” is now threatening the rights conquered through decades of union movements in the country, achieved under more understanding administrations.”

    Hahaha! I’m sure believed them for years, even supporting them wearing your red shirt and going to the PSUV marches, don’t you?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novocherkassk_massacre
    Déjà vu!

    Communism will be communism, it’s lethal and bloody. This is not about workers helping workers, this is about a small number of psychopaths enslaving millions of dumb people (uneducated or holding fancy degrees, it doesn’t matter).

  14. Why would a total stoppage make any difference?

    And why would they strike, when they get a box of CLAP crap that couldn’t even feed my dogs adequately?

    Venezuela is a nation of lowered expectations, and they get lower every day.
    ——-

    What gets glossed over here is the fact that not all people still in Venezuela are equal. The situation is more complicated than we can judge from afar. The idea that a total stoppage of electricity, gas and telephone services would “not make a difference” is not, IMO, a credible thesis. I’m talking NO electricity, gas or phone services. The reason some might strike is that not all Venezuelans have ghetto expectations. I know it’s tempting to paint the entire pueblo with the same brush, but the painting is not accurate.

    What I read here seems to be the frustration of those who know evil when they see it and can’t believe people will put up with it, complicit or not. I still maintain that the situation is not sustainable and that it will never level out like a SA Cuba. The 50 plus billion owed to rapacious bond holders will eventually see to that, but I expect some epidemic, or the power grid going down, or (fill in the blank) to eventually shut down this shit show, and that’s when it will get interesting. Right now it feels like an torturous waiting game.

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