Venezuela Backs Worker Takeover of Kimberley Clark as Citibank Moves to Close BCV Account

By Lucas Koerner on July 12, 2016

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Venezuela’s Labor Ministry approved Monday a workers’ request to occupy a plant owned by the US consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark after the latter closed its doors in the South American country.

The order came directly from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who condemned the transnational firm for its decision Saturday to shut down a diaper and toilet paper factory in Maracay, firing 971 workers.

“Forty-eight hours ago, without notice, a US company called Kimberly-Clark, violating national laws and the constitution, fired almost 1,000 workers from its production plant, closed the door and left the country,” declared Maduro, speaking on state television.

Under Venezuela’s 2012 Labor Law, mass firings are strictly prohibited and firms that shut their doors illegally are liable to be reopened under workers’ control.

“Kimberly is now in the hands of the workers – producing, working, and we are going to invest the necessary resources in order to consolidate [the plant],” Maduro added.

According to Venezuela’s Labor Ministry, the plant has a monthly output of 33 million diapers, 20 million sanitary pads, 27 million thin liners, and 17 million rolls of toilet paper – all of which was brought to a standstill due to the closure.

Following the workers’ takeover, the factory is now operating at ful capacity, confirmed a Labor Ministry inspection Tuesday.

In a press statement, the Texas-based conglomerate defended its decision to leave, complaining of alleged difficulties accessing raw materials as well as US dollars for imports.

In recent months, a slew of multinational firms– including Bridgestone, General Mills, and Procter & Gable– have likewise scaled back operations in the country citing similar problems associated with Venezuela’s economic downturn.

Source: Venezuela Analysis