Fri, Apr 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Venezuelan plant in Costa Rica planning to suspend workers

COMMAND ECONOMY:The head of the factory, a Venezuelan Army general, has had to ask permission to import raw aluminum from outside Venezuela

AFP, SAN JOSE

Venezuelan state-owned aluminum firm Alunasa has announced that it wants to furlough more than 300 workers at its Costa Rica plant because of lack of raw goods to operate, the Costa Rican Ministry of Labor said on Wednesday.

The situation points to Venezuela’s economic agony as it teeters on the brink of default and its government scrambles to juggle its shrinking finances.

PROBLEMS

Venezuelan Army General Noel Martinez, who is in charge of the factory in Costa Rica, on Tuesday told a group of workers that the company had problems sending needed aluminum from Venezuela for the plant to operate.

He said he had asked Caracas for permission to source the metal from other markets.

SUSPENSION

According to the labor ministry, the company issued notification on March 22 that it wanted to suspend all but 40 of the workers at the plant because of a lack of raw materials.

The suspension would be for three months, the ministry said, adding that it was examining whether the request was justified.

EMPLOYER

The factory is located in Esparza, 60km west of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, and is the principal employer in the town and its surrounding area.

Venezuela’s economy has inexorably sunk since 2014, when global prices for oil crashed. Venezuela is reliant on exports of crude oil.

Since then, hyperinflation has set in, basic foodstuffs and medicine have become scarce, and state workers have seen their work week shortened to save electricity.

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