Monday, August 24, 2009

But can he keep Mitsubishi open?

Coming back home I was greeted by the news that the Mitsubishi plant in Barcelona had suspended its operations, and that these would not reopen unless thuggery at the work places ceases.

Of course, they said that a little bit less blunt than I presented it, as reported by the WSJ:
Run by MMC Automotriz, a Mitsubishi unit, the plant may still reopen if there is a guarantee for "the safety of its workers and employees in a climate of peace and discipline," Mitsubishi said.
The BBC also reported it, though it was to be expected that the WSJ coverage was more extended. Still, both agree in the importance of the news: 1400 workers out of a job and there is little that can be done unless anarchy stops. I doubt that it will happen even though Jesse Chacon was fast trying to do some damage control at a time where the dismal business image of Venezuela is not getting any better. We have learned for example that tiny hurricane threatened Dominican Republic is getting about as much private investment in its tiny island than much larger Venezuela floating on a sea of oil. That Mitsubishi thing is for sure not going to help attract further investment.

Part of my business trip last week to Caracas allowed me to hear about labor conflicts all around in the private sector. Just as it seemed to have happened with Mitsubishi, once a negotiation was set and agreed by all parts, things got worst rather than better!

This seems to be the general pattern: chavista activists manage to penetrate established trade unions, or create new guilds supported by the government. Their promise of course is that with chavismo help they will get all sorts of new benefits for the workers. Considering how lavish Chavez is with his Misiones, workers are naturally tempted. Conflict inevitably arises as the state has many ways to intervene in the delicate negotiation. Eventually a deal is reached with significant improvement for the workers. And yet thins go downhill once the ink dries...

The reasons are multiple. For example, if the chavista agitators reach the top of the guild then they start caressing further political ambitions and try to keep their name in view by having their union discussed in the press. Profit is of course of no concern for chavismo who sees it as a cheap synonym for looting. As such, if the owners try to point out the obvious flaws in the "new" management ways they can even be threatened by nationalization, something always good to have yourself noticed among the highly competitive sycophantic battle field of chavismo.

Another reason can be that some of the workers realize that the agenda of the chavista agents is not what they had hoped for: division arises and internal warfare ensues where the business owner is quite often the victim no matter what.

Also the winning Union decides to follow the Chavez model, giving a new meaning to "share the wealth", not realizing that unlike Chavez private business owners do not have an oil well in the backyard to pay for all the business "subventions".

And we certainly cannot rule out that the final aim of chavismo is to eliminate most of the private propriety, leaving standing up only the one that swore fealty to Chavez and the revolution, preferably by letting wealthy chavista bolibourgeois majority owners of the business.

And more but I trust that you get the point. As such prepare yourself to hear about more Mitsubishi style of problems. Toyota was even recently threatened with such a problem and could well be next in line: after all in the sickly mental word of chavismo someone might considering that a Trabant line of cars should be good enough for Venezuela...

But do not leave with the impression that car manufacturers are the only ones with this kind of threats: in the agro industry I am getting tired of hearing about business having harsh labor disputes, driven by the fact that chavista extremists want the government to nationalize all the food producing system, and thus reach the top of the new organizations. You know, the same guys that have convinced Chavez that rice production can be tripled if the state takes care of it. They do not really care if it can be done, they just want to be the ones barking the orders.

-The end-

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