Workers win trade union recognition

After a five month occupation of their plant, seventy workers in the food distribution plant, Snack America Latina, in the Estado Lara neighbourhood, finally won their struggle for trade union recognition and proper regulation of their working time

They previously had to endure a regime of enforced overtime which often went unpaid.

The workers organised themselves into the UNT trade union which has been established in recent years in opposition to the old yellow union confederation - the CNT. Through their occupation they successfully immobilised the company’s 39 vehicles. However the company held firm and the workers decided this week that they had to escalate their action. Ten of them along with ten students from the local university of Lara decided to occupy the Caracas city centre offices of Polar, the Latin American brewing giant which holds a 50% stake in Snack America Latina.

The Polar executives called the police to evict them. The workers and their student allies were initially dragged out, but they argued with the police and pointed to the provisions of the fifth republic constitution, which on paper endorses the right of workers to organise and struggle effectively. The police then let the workers resume their occupation and the company yesterday surrendered to all the workers’ demands, according to UNT organiser Jose Novoa!

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