Venezuela: The Co-management Bill or Death to Private Enterprise!
17.05.05 | The Co-management Bill has already been submitted to the National Assembly. The official name of the bill drafted by the PPT -the ultra left wing of the government coalition- and the National Workers’ Union is the “Law of Worker Participation in the Management of Public and Private Enterprises.” A long name for a law that sums up the Bolivarian project in a nutshell: Death to private enterprise in Venezuela!
The purpose of this bill is to lay the ground rules so that all workers –both men and women- can participate in the management of the company where they work and occupy a leading role in any enterprise-worker relationship, be they co-management schemes, cooperatives, savings entities, community businesses or enterprises of any other kind. The rules will apply both to companies where the State holds “all or part of the ownership rights” and to companies with “totally private capital.” The factors that will determine whether or not the bill will apply to private enterprises are so broad that practically none will escape. For example, the bill states that it can be applied to any company that “is or has been a beneficiary of incentive plans, preferential credit policies or tax or quasi tax incentives granted by the State.”
The leading role granted the worker is so broad that, even in areas where he is not given absolute control –over human resources managers for example-, he is given the power of veto over their appointment as in the case of the other managers.
What is more, workers will be represented on the boards of directors of co-management companies with at least 50% of the board members, and the remainder will be appointed by the Shareholders’ Meeting.
The bill also puts companies and management in a straight jacket that will prevent flexibility when it comes to operations and at the same time hinder and inhibit the decision-making process.
And as though that were not enough, there is provision for setting up a National Commission for Worker Participation in the Management of Public and Private Enterprises, which will act as the governing body for implementing the law. Among other things, it will have the power to draw up plans for implementing the participative management of companies and for worker training. It will also audit the implementation of the law and set up and control a fund, in which all parties will be represented equally and the workers by the majority trade union.
Last week, the Labor Minister called a private meeting at Fuerte Tiuna at which she issued an “amicable invitation” to a group of businessmen to transfer 10% of their shares to the workers in exchange for tax privileges and access to abundant credit. It is assumed that all those who accepted will be subject to this law.
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