Bolivia: New law could allow workers to take over closed companies

May 19, 2017

The Bolivian government has proposed a bill that would allow workers to take over the private companies they work at if they go bankrupt, and convert them into “social companies” to stimulate production and address unemployment, Pagina Siete reported on May 16.

The government justified the measure as part of the state's duty to protect labour rights and generate job opportunities while improving the productive apparatus of the country.

The Creation of Social Companies Bill was handed to the Bolivian National Assembly for debate.

The measure applies in the cases of bankruptcy, but also liquidation or unjustified abandonment, in accordance with the Commercial Code, but only if the company is part of the private sector.

In that case, workers who are still active employees and willing to take it over can present their request to a judge. They may be required to invest in the company's social capital to keep it going.

If the company's debts exceed its available capital, then it will be paid with the employer's personal resources, in accordance with Article 1335 of the Civil Code.

Historically one of South America's poorest and most unstable countries, Bolivia has enjoyed economic growth and political stability under President Evo Morales, the country’s first Indigenous leader.

Its economy has tripled in size, while investment in social and productive projects has doubled in the 11 years since Morales was first elected president.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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