Venezuela: Workers rally to support fresh nationalisation

Marcela Maspero, national coordinator of the UNT in Venezuela. Photo:

Factory workers from the Venezuelan chemical and lubricant company Veneco held a demonstration on the evening of October 10 in Carabobo state to show their support for the company’s nationalisation.

President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation that afternoon.

Jose Martinez, the general secretary of the Venoco workers’ union, said: “We are endorsing this takeover that will bring us many benefits.

“It will bring a change from the capitalist mode to the socialist mode and we are going to strengthen our company.”

Out of Venoco’s 700 workers, 415 are union members who benefit from a collective contract, while the rest are contract laborers, Martinez said. “We are sure that now these fellow workers will become part of this family with all their benefits”, he said.

“There were several irregularities here, among them the existence of many fellow workers who were contract labourers, including people who have worked at Venoco for 40 years and do not receive any type of benefits.

“We are sure that this condition will come to an end with socialism.”

The union has begun talks with the government committee in charge of the nationalisation, in which the collective contract and job security were discussed, Martinez said.

“The majority of the workers were hoping for this [nationalisation] for a long time.”

Martinez acknowledged some workers did support the nationalisation and called on them to be “calm and peaceful”.
“There will be no witch hunts here”, he said. “Labour rights are being guaranteed for all of us who work for the company, because this is socialism, and socialism is inclusion”, he said.

Freddy Espinosa, a spokesperson for the union, said the process of nationalisation has been peaceful: “The good thing is that everything has happened in a peaceful manner and without conflicts.

“Members of the company’s management have shown their willingness to collaborate.”

The new structure of the company will bring “the equal distribution of what we produce”, Espinosa said.

Another union member, quoted by, said the nationalisation would bring benefits to public transportation providers and users, because the company’s lubricants and chemical products will be cheaper.

On October 11, hundreds of workers from other companies that have been nationalised in recent years also demonstrated in Carabobo to show their support for Venoco’s nationalisation.

Asdrubal Chavez, the vice president of the state oil company PDVSA, spoke at the demonstration. He assured the workers their jobs and rights are “guaranteed” as a “policy of the revolutionary process”.

Venezuela’s largest national union federation, the pro-government National Workers Union (UNT), declared its support for the Venoco nationalisation that day.
UNT national coordinator Marcela Maspero said, “Our union federation supports the expropriations of Agroislena”, as well as Venoco, and Fertinitro, two other recently nationalised companies.

Masparo said the takeovers were part of building “food and energy sovereignty”.

“We will be suggesting to the nationalisation committee the necessity of fully incorporating the workers and their union organisations in the tasks of planning, production, distribution, and marketing in each of these companies in order to construct a socialist management model.”

The government said Venoco’s nationalisation was the result of the company’s record of price speculation on manufactured products, despite having access to cheap state-regulated inputs.

It said bringing the company under state management is intended to lower food price inflation and increase food production.

[Reprinted from]