Ferrominera workers denounce salary non-compliance and denial of vacations

The complainants assure that the company says that 500 workers per month can go on vacation. In July only the teachers of the state schools will be able to enjoy them

Text: Francesca Diaz / Mail of the Caroni

Ferrominera Orinoco workers denounced that after three months of the salary increase of 1,704% announced by the Executive, the increase has not yet become effective in the company’s stipends. Likewise, the workers are denied vacation requests that, by law, correspond to them once a year.

During the month of March, Nicolás Maduro set the minimum wage at 130 bolívares; however, none of the wage models of the basic companies in Guayana have been able to adapt to the increase. Due to this, the ironworkers were on a sit-down strike during the month of May and are awaiting a resolution to their demands.

“Everything has become a hoax. We thought that all salaries were going to adjust to what the president announced and none of that was true. The last time we were idle, they deactivated several colleagues. They were suspended and they cannot enter the company, they do not receive a salary… People are afraid and do not dare to protest,” said a worker who preferred to remain anonymous.

Likewise, the workers denounced the absence of a legal document or payment receipt to understand what they continue to receive and what belongs to the base salary, the right to this information is contemplated in article 106 of the Organic Labor Law, the Worker and the Workers (Lottt).

“We are below what we should be earning. We are earning, on average, from 600 to 800 bolivars for those who take out the most. According to our calculations, with the increase, we should collect more than 3 thousand bolivars, “they declared.

Vacations denied to workers

With regard to work vacations, article 190 of the Lottt establishes that “when the worker completes one year of uninterrupted work for an employer, he or she will enjoy a paid vacation period of fifteen working days. In successive years, he will also be entitled to an additional paid day for each year of service, up to a maximum of fifteen working days».

In this regard, the workers denounced that the Abel Jiménez administration has limited their right to rest from work, as they interpret it, to evade the responsibility of payment and vacation bonus contemplated in article 192, which dictates that “the employers shall pay the worker or the worker in the opportunity of her vacations, in addition to the corresponding salary, a special bonus for her enjoyment equivalent to a minimum of fifteen days of normal salary plus one day for each year of services up to a total of thirty days of normal salary.

“We thought that all salaries were going to adjust to what the president announced and none of that was true. The last time we were idle, they deactivated several comrades… People are afraid and don’t dare to protest”

The company states that there is only quota to give vacations to 500 workers per month. What they consider an “outburst”, because the entire company includes a considerable number of workers, “which suspends the enjoyment of vacations for a few. For July, only the teachers of the Ferrominera schools will go on vacation, “explained one of the workers.

According to testimonies, the directive suspended the vacations of the employees who had departure dates in July and August of this year. In turn, vacations scheduled for the period between September and January 2003 will be subject to review.

«In the month of April and May, amounts for fortnightly and vacations were paid higher than what they are paying now. Those who left in April and May received an amount of over 12,000 bolívares. Now they are below 8 thousand. They are not canceling everything”, criticized one of the ironworkers in an interview with Correo del Caroní.

Ferrominera will have new tokens

Instead of starting to activate the work cards of workers and union representatives; the company has decided to issue new tokens for its staff. According to witnesses, the change is in favor of offering a new corporate image and eradicating the separation by colors that existed, this visual differentiation allowed knowing how to identify the charges.

In this regard, the process of preparing the file will begin on July 4 and will end on the 15th of the same month. The new identifiers will have the fingerprint, which will be the new way of accounting for attendance and entry time. According to the announcement, all personnel must attend this operation, including those listed as not required, whether they are on leave or on vacation.

«Now everything will be by footprint. They’re going to remove the tile colors. Before it was a red, green, yellow chip… now it will be a single color. That served to identify the professionalism that you had, for example, the yellow card was the workers. The technicians were a red card. It was to differentiate. All the workers are going to be called, even those who are in quarantine to inform them that from July 4 to 15 they have to get the new card,” explained one of the ironworkers, who alleged that this new method is to intimidate them and make stricter control of attendance. In turn, to know the number of workers who are in the country.

“It is incongruous that they have money to make new chips for the entire company, but not so that we can enjoy legal and contractual vacations.”

fear of protest

Workers explained that the last time they were idle, the reprisals were extremely strong, costing the protest leaders their deactivation.

The fear of the consequences prevents them from resuming the demonstrations at the different gates of the company. Suspended workers lose the right to salary and benefits such as the food bag.

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