Fourteen plants in state owned steel mill Sidor are paralyzed by a workers’ strike

Class Unitary, Revolutionary and Autonomous Current (C-cura)

Puerto Ordaz, April 20, 2022

For the past few days at Sidor there is a genuine rebellion of working rank and file, overcoming bureaucratic pro-government and treacherous leadership in Sutiss (government controlled union) and the Bolivarian Force of Workers (FBT, officialist).

Since Monday 18, workers decided to rise up against the constant abuses, misery wages, the destruction of their collective contract and government’s repression. They first decided a slowdown strategy, which immediately turned into a sitdown strike. 

At the hot rolling plants, pellet plants, bars, wire rod, oxygen plant, billet steel and slabs, workers with their own strength and fighting methods, decided at their assemblies to occupy the plants and halt the production demanding that the company’s board and its president Néstor Astudillo, apply the salary increase recently decreed by the government. The workers demand that the salary be equal to the cost of the basic food basket, that Sidor’s wage tabulator is applied and they reject the new salary scale that the company pretends to apply, removing benefits that were conquered after years of struggle, demanding that all the bonuses are respected, as well as the reinsertion in their workplaces for those who are not active now.

The struggle of these workers is the same as the one being fought by most workers of the public sector, who were recently mocked with salary scales that sensitively reduce their earnings. 

The 14 plants which are semi-productive are paralyzed right now, despite the militarization of the gates imposed by the government; they prevent workers from boarding transportation to go to the plant, as they keep intimidating them. The government, through the company’s board, introduced FAES (special police forces), Sebin (political police), the Bolivarian National Guard and the DGCIM (military intelligence), but despite it all the workers remain firm in their demands, fearless at the plants despite the government’s repression. 

There is a media shutdown in Guayana. Most of the press is kneeling for the government and the PSUV. In the rest of the country little is known about this heroic fight being fought by Sidor’s workers, which can turn into a spark, detonating a great movement of the Venezuelan working class against the adjustment measures applied by Maduro’s government, intended to keep the working people paying the cost of the crisis.

The situation of the workers at the iron and aluminum companies in Guayana is of absolute misery. The eyes of workers from across the country must be fixed on this fight. The government lies affirming that these companies are productive right now. Production is limited to certain areas and the rates of production are very far from those of the past. 

It is important that all the unions, union currents and labor activists from all over the country, both from the public and the private sectors, express their solidarity with Sidor workers’ struggle. From C-cura we make our modest resources available to the success of this strike. This would be a great incentive for all workers’ struggles developing in the country and a great homage to the martyrs of Chicago, as May 1st draws near.

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