Venezuela report on workers-- 26 November 2003

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Wed Nov 26 2003 - 19:30:01 EST

This is the second of two notes on current developments in Venezuela; it is
being sent to a larger distribution list because of its content. Please
circulate widely.

        There have been rumours that in private industry (largely unorganised)
workers would be taken to the signature tables by their supervisors to sign
up in the 'Reafirmazo' to generate a recall of Chavez. (It is called the
RE-signing because of the opposition claim that their unsupervised and
constitutionally premature sign-up last February was the first firmazo.)
There is some rather concrete evidence, though, that the pressures upon
private sector workers will be intense.
        I have just been shown a card by a leader of UNT (the National Union of
Workers, the new trade union federation formed in August). This nicely
embossed a card for the "reafirmazo'  has a place for the bearer's name and
signature and a place where this card is to be stamped. It is being given
by private sector employers to their workers. The card reads (roughly
translated): 'Today I have left my signature and my hello for history, as
demonstration of my desire and will to look for a peaceful, democratic and
electoral exit to the crisis of the country.' What will happen to workers
whose card is NOT stamped is anyone's guess. The real point is that the
pressure being placed upon workers in the private sector is clear. We can
say with certainty that no such pressure was placed upon public sector
workers this last week because we definitely would have heard about it.
        This is news that needs to be spread--- especially to trade unionists who
will recognise what such a card represents. Also, it is essential to ensure
that international observers watch for this.
        in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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