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