Venezuela: Gov't takes over closed factory, workers to restart production

October 1, 2014
Clorex workers hold an assembly to discuss plans to reactivate the factory, with government support.

The Venezuelan government initiated a takeover of the abandoned Clorox factory on September 25, with Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza calling an assembly of the company's 475 workers to reactivate the plant's activities.

Clorox Venezuela called workers and left voicemails stating that their jobs were liquidated due to the company's decision to leave the country. The US-based company claims that economic challenges influenced its decision to close the factories doors.

Arreaza said: "They [the workers] worked until last Friday, completely normal, and when they came in on Monday the doors were closed.

"Five minutes later, they received voice messages on their cell phones on behalf of the company's president, Oscar Ledezma, where he tells them, 'we are leaving Venezuela, we deposited your liquidation package in your account ... The factory will not operate anymore'."

Arreaza said the government issued an official order for the company to resume their activities, which the owners ignored only to subsequently leave Venezuela.

The vice-president said that neither workers nor government officials have been able to speak with the owners of the transnational. "We haven't been able to talk to any of them, only with a representative in Argentina via video conference, the only one that stayed is a representative of a law firm that defends the bourgeoisie all the time."

The company's workers called on the government to temporarily takeover the factory after Clorox's failure to follow the order to resume production. The factory is located outside of Caracas in Los Valles del Tuy, Miranda.

Arreaza, along with Minister for Social Protection of the Labour Process Jesus Martinez and the company's workers, attended the September 26 assembly, telling the assembled workers that they will receive support from the government and chemists in order to reactive the factory.

While workers know how to handle the chemicals they work with, Arreaza emphasised that pressured decisions cannot be taken and workers cannot be put at risk. He said: "[Saturday] a group of experts, including representatives from other national companies will come to make themselves available to these workers."

Arreaza said the government also plans to open investigations into Clorox Venezuela, saying that, "those who committed this crime against almost 500 families, 474 families are here, workers ... we cannot allow this to happen".

[Reprinted from Venezuela Analysis.]

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