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Driven by Chavez and with More than 19,000 Suggestions from the People

A Year After the Enactment of the Labor Law

Venezuela | 1 May 2013

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VENEZUELA | APRIL 30, 2013

It is a year since Commander Chavez signed into enactment the Workers’ Organic Labor Law (LOTTT). The law, developed with more than 19,000 proposals submitted, with 90% input by the working class, contains major advances in the recognition of workers’ rights.

LOTTT establishes work is "a social process that essentially aims to overcome forms of capitalist exploitation." This is among many of the interesting aspects of the law. LOTTT also recognizes that workers are "creators of socially produced wealth and the protagonists of education and work processes."

But this would only be an abstract philosophical statement if it had no practical application bringing into effect the recognition of rights for workers.

Among the main concrete advances of the LOTTT: prohibits unfair dismissal, forcing employers to "reinstate" employees and offer the possibility of the employee to exercise the right to double recovery in case someone does not want to be reinstated.

LOTTT also prohibits labor outsourcing, the maximum expression of job insecurity, which in other countries is a major labor problem, and not just because it is driven by private employers: assuming that the World Bank policy and international financial organizations neoliberal state also adopts outsourcing services. In the case of the new LOTTT, this ban will become mandatory within two years under a transitional provision to implement progressive legal change.

On the other hand, the law reduces working hours of 44-40 hours per week during the daytime (and 35 night hours), effective May 7th.

In turn, among other advances, LOTTT restores bonuses eliminated in 1997 by neoliberal reform. The law also extends maternity and paternity leave, reaching in the case of the mother at 26 weeks (6 before delivery and 20 after). For the father, the license is 14 calendar days. Moreover, the period of immobility after birth extends to two years.

"A law is the product of a long process of struggle"

A year ago, at the time of enacting this law, the Commander said that "there has not been a labor law as discussed and debated as this new law." He was referring to the 19,923 proposals received by the presidential commission for discussion of the act, 90% of these proposals came from the working class. "That’s why I congratulate and thank you infinitely," Chavez said. "Because without the help of you, without your effort, what I could have done? And I say this not only because of the LOTTTT, but for everything. For all and forever."

The president said at the time that the law was not a divine concession, but a product of a long process of popular struggles. "No peoples’ conquest, no workers conquest has occurred without a long process of resistance, struggle, and suffering," he said, pointing to the struggles of the Revolution "Even in these years, a little more than 13 years of government, and the battle inside has been tough. “And during these 13 years of government the battle is still hard. Not only against the bourgeoisie and the coup backers, but also against the historical bureaucracy entrenched in the state. The fight against the lack of awareness and also against deviations in the thought and action [of] internal currents. As Karl Marx said, nothing is born of nothing, everything is born polluted. I could say that this law I sign today, is undoubtedly the product of a long process of struggles and battles, but also a process that is necessary to continue giving, to internally debug the socialist revolution, the Bolivarian Revolution, which has to keep healing, strengthening its conscience, and transitioning toward the construction of socialism. "

In his speech, Chavez also spoke in favor of the freedom of criticism and the autonomy of union organizing. "The poor working class should not be subordinated to any government. No, you are free, independent! Criticize," he said, "Criticize, be irreverent. Mind you, I only ask maturity and loyalty. And above all that the allegations are sustained. (...) Loyalty: You know you have an unconditional ally. "

He also noted that the State has to set an example and that he should review who are outsourcing. Chavez enacted the law, with the phrase "social justice" with his signature and added with his voice full of emotion: "Social justice for our martyrs."

One Year Later, Mobilization with the First Worker’s President

This May 1st, across the globe, the Venezuelan working class mobilized again. Joining them the President Nicolas Maduro.

By convening the march- in Caracas they organized two large columns converging on Plaza O’Leary, Bolivarian unions announced that in addition to defending the new law, they protested the violence by supporters of former right wing candidate Henrique Capriles, who insists on ignoring the democratic institutions of Venezuela.

During the attacks on health centers, community media offices, housing and food missions as well as local headquarters of the Socialist Party (PSUV), made after the presidential election on April 14, 10 people were killed and more than 70 injured. For this reason, mobilization demands zero impunity and imprisonment for those responsible for the material consequences and planning.

Source: ALBA TV / fvp

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