The International Labor Organization (ILO) has approved a proposal presented by a group of countries. This proposal demands the government of Venezuela to comply with recommendations given by an independent commission of experts regarding the establishment of a fixed minimum wage, freedom of association, and social dialogue.
The decision was taken in the context of Complaint No. 13, which contains serious allegations of attacks, harassment, and aggressions against business and union leaders.
The complaint also addresses the absence of social dialogue and tripartite consultation. It is an ongoing process which will continue to affect the country.
Respect for decisions and a call for dialogue
In the session of march 26th , the International Labor Organization put two proposals on the table regarding the Venezuelan case.
One from the group of countries, comprised of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and the European Union (approved).
The second was presented by the workers' organizations. The proposals overlap on several points.
First, both groups lament the Venezuelan government’s response of August 10, 2020, which rejected the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. The groups are demanding the government to promptly establish a forum for social dialogue.
Neither of the two amendments included the application of ILO art. 33, which says that when a member country "does not comply with the recommendations of the report of the Commission of Inquiry within the given time limit, the Governing Body shall recommend whatever measures it deems appropriate to obtain compliance with such recommendations."
While this may not have been included, they are still requesting the Director General of the organization to take time during the November conference to study the situation. The aim is to find ways of ensuring that the Government of Venezuela complies with the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations.
The two proposals differed on one point. The workers' proposal did not contain the request for the Director General to "inform the members of the Governing Body, no later than May 3, 2021, on the measures that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has adopted to follow up on the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.”
In addition, the ILO office should provide a report on the technical assistance it has provided to the Government of Venezuela to comply with the provisions of the approved amendment.
...in the more than 100 years that the ILO has existed, only 13 commissions of this type have been created...
History of a complaint
In June 2015, a group of 33 employer delegates filed a complaint with the ILO against the Venezuelan government. The complaint accuses the government of not complying with Convention 26 on minimum wage setting, C87 on freedom of association, and C144 on tripartite consultations.
In March 2018, the Governing Body of the Labor Organization-ILO creates a commission formed by three independent experts to investigate what was denounced by the Venezuelan employers.
Two months later, the Independent Trade Union Alliance (ASI), an organization with approximately 300,000 affiliated workers, filed a multiple complaint jointly with trade unions SINFUCAN, SINTRAINCES, and SUEPGEC before the international body for violation of freedom of association, interference in union electoral processes, and the violation of the right to collective bargaining.
They requested the protection of fundamental labor rights and the accompaniment of the ILO to enable and open a tripartite social dialogue. This complaint was subsequently incorporated into Commission of Inquiry No. 13.
It is worth noting that in the more than 100 years that the ILO has existed, only 13 commissions of this type have been created, which shows the importance and seriousness of the case.
Read the entire history of ILO Complaint No. 13 here:
The Central Así Venezuela, headed by their President, Leida Marcela León, urges the Venezuelan government to strengthen real social dialogue to guarantee the rights of Venezuelan workers.
"We call on the wisdom of the Venezuelan government to reach consensual solutions of the tripartite agreement established by the ILO and to continue with the dialogue process it initiated to seek answers to all the needs of Venezuelan workers in relation to wages, social protection, decent work, and collective bargaining agreements."
CNV Internationaal supports the Central ASI of Venezuela in their call to the Venezuelan government to improve and strengthen workers' rights.
This is especially important in the current context of the instability of the country’s labour market.
These issues are further aggravated by the pandemic, and will only be improved through serious and responsible social dialogue, followed by real results.
Publication date 30 03 2021