Maduro’s pay raise announcement: a mockery at workers

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VENEZUELA

Written by UST Venezuela
Thursday, 27 November 2014 20:14
The government announced an increase in wages for next month. According to the President salaries have risen over 65% this year. However, this meager increase does not represent more than 660 bolivars [1] per month, only 22 bolivars per day. A true derision!
According to CENDA [2] the food basket would be above 13,000 bolivars, far above the 4,889 bolivars the government sets as the minimum wage. And very, very far from the 21,000 bolivars in which that NGO estimates the living wage should be.
But the the workers don’t need these statistics to know that wages vanished from our pockets. Inflation, which is increasingly difficult to calculate by official statistics, has eaten beforehand the wage increase. But something must be happening with inflation and wages because the military have got an increase of 45%. It looks like they can’t make it reach the end of the month but we can! But the truth is that Venezuelan workers’ wage is one of the lowest in Latin America. Despite the exchange rate you wish to use it is less than US$ 100!
No money for salaries?
The government has just paid more than three billion dollars as foreign debt interests to the international usurers. And the Bank of America reassured the creditors that “Venezuela will fulfill their commitments to the foreign debt.”(El Universal,10/14/2014)
And according to international observers, Venezuela will pay in the coming years US$ 10 billion per year. That is, while the vultures promptly receive “dollars from the Venezuelan people”, workers must settle for crumbs.
“Adjustment” on the road
The agreements reached between Nicolás Maduro, FEDECAMARAS [3] and other employers sectors can be translated into day-to-day price liberalization, increasing inflation and subsidies for the bosses. However, many of the basic staple remain “missed” and are only available on the black market. The unannounced and denied “adjustment” by the government include layoffs and persecutions that the Labor Prosecution give way with suspiciously quickness. And many collective agreements remain frozen. The fall in oil prices can “accelerate” the implementation of other measures such as tax, services and gasoline price increases.
Although the living conditions of workers and popular sectors are worsening, the trade union  leaders linked to the government are entirely silent and recommend “hard working” to earn more. Shameful! For years the traditional bourgeoisie, the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie” and multinationals have filled their pockets with the cheap dollar and speculation and now they want more: that workers and people pay their “party” with inflation, low wages and layoffs
Unify the struggles
The workers are facing the adjustment, but separately. We must demand an emergencial pay rise that allows us to achieve the living wage, automatically adjustable by inflation.
The UST supports and cheers the efforts made by some sectors, as the comrades from Carabobo and others in promoting coordinated actions. But we need to unify the fights and fighters across the country. We propose that UNETE, FADESS, [4] the trade unions and workers’ organizations convene a national meeting to discuss a program of action, independent from the government and the bourgeoisie, to give a solution to the crisis in the country and drive the working class in the battle to impose it.
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[1]When this article was written the exchange rate was 128 bolivars per dollar.
[2]CENDA: Workers Center for Documentation and Analysis.
[3]FEDECAMARAS: Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce
[4]UNETE: National Workers’ Union; FADESS: Independent Front for Jobs, Salary and Unions.

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