We make an appeal to the Venezuelan people, the international working class and all those who support the struggle of the workers for their emancipation to send messages to president Chavez asking for the expropriation of Acerven under workers' control, not to leave Inveval at the mercy of the capitalist market, an end to the bureaucratic sabotage, the expropriation of Gotcha, INAF, MDS and Vivex to and a full inquiry into the killing of Argenis Vazquez.
No to bureaucratic sabotage against Inveval!
Nationalisation of occupied factories!
No more killings of trade union leaders!
An appeal by Freteco to public opinion and the workers of the world
It is now four years since the nationalisation of the Inveval valve in Venezuela. Since then, the workers of Inveval have been running the factory under workers' control, showing the way forward for the building of socialism in Venezuela. After the expropriation of the company in 2005 by president Chávez, they set up a democratically elected, accountable and recallable factory council to coordinate production, organised a trade union in order to link up with the rest of the labour movement, and built links with the communal councils in the state of Miranda, where they are based. They also organised the Revolutionary Front of Occupied Factories (Freteco) together with the workers of other companies occupied or nationalised (INAF, Gotcha, MDS, Vivex, SIDOR and others).
The workers of Inveval have shown that workers can successfully run a factory. For the last 4 years they have kept the company going by repairing broken valves, and have prepared it for the production of new valves. However, they have not been able to produce new valves because of the constant hurdles put in their way by the state functionaries, who are acting directly against the decisions of president Chavez. The state bureaucracy does not want workers' control in Inveval to be successful for very simple reason: they do not want it to become an example to workers in other companies.
A socialist company should be part of a democratic plan coordinated with the other state-owned companies, including having its own budget covering raw materials, financing, etc. But the state bureaucracy is working to suffocate Inveval economically. They are refusing to give the factory a budget for 2009, on top of the fact that Inveval's budget for 2008 has still not been transferred to the company. The workers of Inveval have not been given any reason for this. This means, de facto, leaving Inveval in bankruptcy.
Additionally, in 2008, president Chavez gave the order to expropriate Acerven in Tinaquillo, Cojedes, a company that makes the casts which would allow Inveval to go from simply repairing valves to manufacturing new valves for the oil industry. To this day, Chavez's order has not been implemented. Meanwhile, the oil industry is importing valves. This is a lucrative business for some people who are putting pressure on the state functionaries so that Inveval is not allow to manufacture new valves.
This whole situation of inefficiency and outright bureaucratic sabotage has created enormous stress for the workers of Inveval. Four years after the expropriation, functionaries of PDVSA and the Ministry of Light Industries (Milco) continue to prevent the orders of president Chavez, which would allow Inveval to work to full capacity, from being implemented.
Gotcha, INAF, MDS, Vivex
After the expropriations of Invepal and Inveval, the workers of the Gotcha textile factory, of the bathroom fittings company INAF, and the transport company MDS, also occupied their factories, in response to attacks from the bosses, the lack of payment of social security contributions, and the abandonment of production.
The workers of these companies have made repeated appeals for these companies to be expropriated, but so far they have received no answer from the ministry in charge, Milco. There are some 150 workers who have been resisting for the last 3 or 4 years in very difficult conditions.
Finally, there is the case of Vivex, an auto parts company in the state of Anzoategui. In November 2008, the workers were faced with the refusal of the boss to pay the full benefits pay to which they were entitled. Responding to the appeal by president Chavez, who said that the workers in companies where the bosses were denying them their rights should occupy them, more than 300 Vivex workers took over the plant. They have been in occupation for 6 months without receiving any wages, and without receiving any response to their appeals to functionaries of the Presidency who are dealing with their case.
There is an urgent need to demand the expropriation of these companies to safeguard the jobs and source of income for hundreds of families.
Assassination of Toyota trade union leader
The workers of Toyota, a car company in Cumaná, in the state of Sucre, have been in struggle in defence of their collective bargaining rights and in solidarity with the struggle of Mitsubushi workers in Anzoategui. As part of their struggle, on March 6, 2009, they decided to occupy the installations of the company, an occupation which they maintained for several weeks.
On Tuesday, May 5, the general secretary of the union of Toyota workers (Sintratoyota), Argenis Vazquez, was assassinated when he was on his way to a meeting with management. This is a new case of assassination of militant trade union leaders in Venezuela, after the assassination of the 3 UNT trade union leaders in Aragua in November 2008, and the killing of two Mitsubishi and Macusa workers at the hands of the police in Anzoategui in January 2009 (an attack which was directed against Felix Martínez, the general secretary of the Mitsubishi workers' union Singetram). We demand a full inquiry into this assassination and that those responsible be brought to justice.
For all of these reasons we make an appeal to the Venezuelan people, the international working class and all those who support the struggle of the workers for their emancipation to send messages to president Chavez asking for:
Knowing of the problems faced by the workers in the occupied factories in Venezuela, we ask you for a quick solution to their problems in the following terms:
1) The expropriation of Acerven under workers' control
2) Do not leave Inveval at the mercy of the capitalist market. For a 2008 and 2009 budget for the company, as part of a plan of production with PDVSA and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
3) An end to the bureaucratic sabotage against Inveval - State bodies should implement the orders of president Chávez
4) The expropriation of Gotcha, INAF, MDS and Vivex - for the defence of jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of families.
5) Stop the killings of trade union activists - Full inquiry into the killing of Argenis Vazquez, general secretary of Sintratoyota - those responsible should be brought to justice, both those who carried out the killing and those who ordered it.
Yours in solidarity,
Send messages addressed to the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to your Venezuelan embassy or consulate, with copy to Freteco (email@example.com)