ARE TRADITIONAL TRADE-UNION ORGANIZATIONS BEING RESPECTED?
1. The Venezuelan trade-union movement is currently undergoing a very difficult situation . From a unionization rate of 35% in the 80's, at the present moment only one or, at the most 2, of each 10 workers is organized. The trade-union organization is usually divided in three fronts, a traditional sector, with the "Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela" (CTV) (the Venezuelan Workers Association), founded in 1947, being the strongest trade-union organization, and in which also are the "Confederación de Sindicatos Autónomos" (CODESA) (the Autonomous Trade-Union Association), founded in 1964, having a Christian-democratic orientation, and the "Confederación General de Trabajadores" (CGT) (the Workers General Association), being a division of the Christian-democratic, founded in 1971 ; on the second front, there are the "Confederación Unica de Trabajadores de Venezuela" (CUTV) (the Venezuelan Unique Workers Association), founded in 1961, having a communist orientation; and on the third front, the "Unión Nacional de Trabajadores" (UNT) (the Workers National Union), founded on October, 2003, having an official orientation.
2. Once noted this weakness regarding trade-union matters, the Government proposed the realization of a Consulting Referendum on December of the year 2000, in order to ask the people about their conformity with declaring the "Corporación de Trabajadores de Venezuela" (CTV) in re-organization and, therefore, ". finish with the trade-union corrupted elites." in words of the President of the Republic. The result -although being favorable to the Government- showed an abstention higher than 76% and, therefore, it is considered as a defeat.
3. After the Consulting Referendum the Government candidates were defeated by the minority traditional leaders on the trade-union elections held on October of 2001. The Government never admitted this victory and, therefore, it has been brought as a case before the "OIT" (International Labor Organization).
4. In view of the trade-union defeat, the Government created -among others- a parallel trade-union central, the "UNT", and a workers movement denominated Frente Bolivariano de Trabajadores " and it refused to discuss the collective contracts with the trade-unions affiliates of the "CTV". Notwithstanding, the creation of such parallel centrals, qualified by the "CTV" leaders as "Government followers" or official, has not given good results to the Government and the "CTV" is still the main trade-union force of the country.
5. In view of this failure, the Government has begun to propose new organizational schemes for the labor force, based on "co-management" and the organization of cooperatives, as alternative mechanisms to the capitalist economic development, which also implicate an organization of the workers different from the traditional trade-union organization. A proposal of a Co-Management Law has been circulating, brought by the official central, "UNT". Such trend of economic and social conduction is described in the objective No. 7 of " The New Stage: The New Strategic Map", brought by President Chávez Frías on November 17 th , 2004, before the members of his Government, at "Fuerte Tiuna".
6. Same organizational plan has been proposed -on the part of the Government- to entrepreneurs, which -in exchange for resources and for economic and financial aid- agree to join in some "co-Management" plans.