Trade unions in venezuela and their impact on the construction industry

Nidal Bahsas04/11/2009 |
Human Resources Management |
Trade Unions in Venezuela and their impact on the Construction Industry |
The New Political System “21st century socialism” |

This study illustrates the fundamental importance of a political understanding in order to improve HRM identifying problems in the construction industry in relation to trade unions in The Bolivarian Republic ofVenezuela. A brief history of trade unions will be described and as well as an in-depth analysis of the current situation of the new political economical model and the way in which it might, directly or indirectly, influence companies’ policies and practices regarding to human resources management and the changing role of trade unions. The main issue is a revolutionary process where the governmentmodifies the political economical system including the legislation, rules and regulations of the labour market and others from the former capitalist economy to the new socialist system.

Venezuela, before the government of Hugo Chavez, had a stable democracy of fifty years where a main trade union which is called the Venezuelan Workers Confederation (CTV) had a central role claiming to representthe workers and to be aware of the necessities of Venezuelans. The situation of Venezuela has been changing since 1998 when presidential election took place and the popular Hugo Chavez democratically won with the majority of votes arising 56.45 percent of the total vote, finishing the five decades dominance by the old two main parties AD and COPEI (Davila 2000, 235 cited by Bak 2001, p.91).Since the government of Hugo Chavez became established in power, Venezuela has suffered transformational changes in the society with huge political and institutional revolutionary amendments. Chavez promotes a popular phrase which is “21st century socialism” and claims to be on the side of the working class but in fact Hugo Chavez has never been a follower of his country’s trade unions. From the verybeginning of his term of office, Chavez never had good relations with the CTV; indeed he describes them as a fraudulent leftover of the capitalist precedent of Venezuelan’s governances (Economist, 2009).

Many sectors of the political parties, trade unions, and popular organizations worked towards new and truly socialist and revolutionary production models and company management methods, whichwould transform capitalist production relations. Since the events of 2002, which were two big victories for the new regime, (that is, the popular protest against the coup on the 11th of April in the same year and the defeat of the oil industry rebellion, when workers of the principal oil producer of Venezuela, PDVSA, seized control of the company) there have been some important issues at nationallevel in different sectors of the country occurring (Primo, 2003). For instance, growth tendency in the construction industry are inclined to correlate both with the potency of oil prices and with government spending level, ensuing in transformational cycles which the latest one the industry contracted harshly between 2002 and 2003, along with with profound economic recession, but grewsubstantially when the economic recovered itself in 2004 (Country Profile -Venezuela, 2005). For this reason, trade unions began to group together and reorganize themselves, motivated by the new economic and political model. The crisis at hand generated union pressures and Human Resources managers lost control to confront these conflicts.

At present there are many trade unions in the construction industryof which the most relevant are the Construction Workers Bolivarian National Federation (FUNTBCAC), the Construction Workers’ National Federation (FENATCS), and the Construction Industry Workers’ Federation (FETRACONSTRUCTION) and Heavy Machinery Workers’ Federation (FETRAMAQUIPE). These trade unions are looking forward to better chances in the construction industry in order to demand their…