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Venezuela:Cooking Oil Socialist Workers’ Council P rotests Minister’s “Imposition” of Manager

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  • Cort Greene
    Hands Off Venezuela @HOVcampaign Workers at Diana (nationalised under workers control) reject appointment of new manager
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2013
      Hands Off Venezuela @HOVcampaign <https://twitter.com/HOVcampaign>

      Workers at Diana (nationalised under workers' control) reject appointment
      of new manager without consulation http:// <http://t.co/NDkaLAPk7U>

      Cooking Oil Socialist Workers� Council Protests Minister�s �Imposition� of

      Jul 30th 2013, by Tamara Pearson
      [image: Workers protesting at their Industrias Diana plant in Valencia
      (Jenmar Rojas / Noticias24 Carabobo)]

      Workers protesting at their Industrias Diana plant in Valencia (Jenmar
      Rojas / Noticias24 Carabobo)
      [image: President Chavez visiting Industrias Diana in 2010 (Prensa

      President Chavez visiting Industrias Diana in 2010 (Prensa Presidencial)
      [image: The Industias Diana plant in Valencia, with a banner that reads
      �Worker control is in charge� (Jenmar Rojas / Noticias24 Car]

      The Industias Diana plant in Valencia, with a banner that reads �Worker
      control is in charge� (Jenmar Rojas / Noticias24 Carabobo)

      M�rida, 30th July 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) � Workers from the worker run
      Industrias Diana plants are protesting the decision of food minister Felix
      Osorio to designate businessman David Mendoza as manager of the company.

      Workers have been protesting since Friday, when Mendoza and a new
      managerial board assumed office.

      Industrias Diana <http://www.industriasdiana.gob.ve/> was nationalised in
      2008. With its main plant in Valencia, as well as five other plants, Diana
      produces mainly oil related goods such as cooking oil, margarine,
      mayonnaise, sauces, and soaps, and covers 35% of Venezuela�s margarine
      market. It has an annual production of 207,761 tonnes, an increase of
      160.4% compared to 2008. Its full-time workforce has also increased to 2350
      people. Diana is limited to selling 20% of its production to the private
      market, with the other 80% going to state distribution companies.

      In 2011 and 2012 Diana provided the state with Bs 35 million in dividends.
      The government has also recently invested a further Bs 30 million in the
      industry to enable it to expand its palm tree harvest. Workers are
      organised into a socialist workers� council, and decide company operations.
      They also have their own radio, journalists, and workers� university.

      Diana workers are arguing that they weren�t consulted in the designation of
      Mendoza. In a meeting on Friday with the workers, Mendoza admitted to
      owning some restaurants and other small companies, some of which have
      failed. At the meeting, which was
      workers stated that someone who runs private businesses �can�t understand
      how to run a workers� factory and respect collective power�. Mendoza then
      said his ownership of private businesses wasn�t a conflict of interest, and
      �everyone has the right to work�.

      Mendoza was also a regional manager of the state tax organisation, SENIAT,
      in 2005. According to Roberto Yepez, writing for Opcion
      Choice), Mendoza fired SENIAT workers who tried to unionise.

      Diana worker, Oglis Garcia, told press that if the board positions weren�t
      discussed with workers, they would go to the national assembly to denounce
      the situation. He invited national assembly president Diosdado Cabello to
      debate �two models� with workers; �The model of imposition of the minister,
      the Adeco-Copeyano [traditional opposition parties] way of trampling by
      force, and the second model of worker control, of popular power making the
      decisions in Diana�.

      Mendoza was formally appointed on 23 July. When he went to the plant to
      assume the position on Friday, he brought armed national guards to the
      plant. Yepez referred to the move as a �militarisation� of Industrias Diana
      �in order to impose the government�s decision on the workers�. He said
      there are normally some guards at the plant since it was nationalised, and
      workers see the soldiers as �military comrades� but argues that their �real
      purpose was revealed� on Friday.

      Workers have released a
      their support for the Bolivarian revolution and �worker president� Nicolas
      Maduro. They stated they had no intention of going on strike, as the
      company�s production is important �for guaranteeing food sovereignty�. In
      an assembly they debated the �imposition� by the government, and also
      proposed candidates for the board from among the factory�s workers �with
      professional and political experience�. The proposal, according to Yepez,
      was approved unanimously.

      Outgoing manager of Diana, Angel Orsini, was also chosen by the national
      executive of the government. However, according to Diana worker Luis Ramos,
      speaking at the recorded <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQs80DiNRJs>assembly,
      Orsini was chosen at the time of nationalisation in order to help with the
      �transition� to worker control, and he played a key role in educating

      However, public radio network Radio Mundial published a
      the �Chavez Vive� collective, which argues that Orisini has been
      �accumulating privileges�. Industrias Diana workers state though that the
      collective doesn�t exist, and demanded that public media visit the factory.

      In their twitter account <https://twitter.com/DianaIndustrias> this
      morning, Diana workers said that some people had �disguised themselves as
      Diana workers in order to declare themselves against worker control�.

      In another statement<http://prensapcv.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/carta-abierta-del-consejo-de-trabajadores-de-industrias-diana-al-pueblo-y-al-presidente-nicolas-maduro/>
      Diana workers said they �have declared themselves in permanent assembly,
      with daily sessions of information and collective decisions�.

      �We�re not going to accept any imposition from anyone, unless an assembly
      of workers� approves it,� Ramos said at the meeting, arguing that was
      �Chavez�s legacy... the people decide�.

      In 2010 when Chavez visited the Industrias Diana factory he said that the
      nationalisation of such �strategic companies has increased national
      production of basic foods�. In April 2012 he also stated that, �Industrias
      Diana is a very important example of how a company that was capitalist, now
      in the hands of the workers, has gone through the roof in productivity,
      efficiency, and lowering costs�.

      For more photos of the protests see
      and see here for a video <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fgzfB-6fY> of
      the protest outside Industrias Diana, which has the support of local
      communal councils, movements, and alternative and community media.
      *Source URL (retrieved on 31/07/2013 - 12:50am):*

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