Venezuela

Workers Denounce Venezuela’s Largest Food Processing Company

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Telesur

Venezuelan workers with Polar have denounced the company for mandating lower production for flour and mistreating workers who have exposed what they consider the company’s role in destabilizing the nation.

The union representing workers of Polar Food in the Venezuelan states of Anzoategui and Sucre have denounced their employer, saying that workers have been persecuted for exposing the company’s strategy to reduce the production rates for pre-cooked, corn flour, a staple of Venezuelan’s diet.

‘‘I want to inform the Venezuelan people that production has reduced almost 40 to 50 percent,” said the union representatives, Carlos Maita at a Thursday press conference. “We should produce approximately 270 pallets a day, we are hardly producing 180 orders on the employer’s orders. They say this is what they can do. We know that the machines can produce more than this.”

The majority of workers have taken a stand against Polar’s decision to reduce production, saying that it goes against the people’s right to access food and it is a way of sabotaging the nation’s economy.

Over the last year, Polar has made Venezuelan and international headlines due to intentional food shortages and meddling in distribution. These cases have come to light through the continued efforts of the company’s workers to draw attention to Polar’s strategy to monopolize the food industry.

Lorenzo Mendoza, the owner of Polar, controls approximately 40 percent of Venezuela’s food market. Polar also dominates the distribution of imported goods.

‘‘President Nicolas Maduro asked the working class to increase production, not the reduce it,” said Maita.

Meanwhile , the Superintendent of Fair Prices (SUNDDE), Andres Eloy Mendez inspected the Polar Foods plant in Turmero, Aragua state. Mendez also organized a meeting with union representatives, who advocated for the full use of Polar machinery to produce pre-cooked flour and also criticized what they considered to be the company’s violation of collective bargaining.

Following complaints from workers across the South American nation, the SUNDDE will maintain its presence in Polar plants in Sucre, Aragua and Yaracuy.

The SUNDDE was founded under Maduro’s administration to regulate prices for basic goods, prevent inflation and protect workers’ rights.

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