For the struggle for wages and the workers’ demands, the COB and the
unions should promote a workers’ plan of struggle
Legal recourse of the businessmen against the 5% raise in the private
sector, docking the pay of health and educational workers for the days
on strike, ordered by Evo Morales, the total failure of the
government-COB "working committees," are warnings to the workers,
attempts to restrain the struggles and demands.
We can only get an answer to the workers’ and people’s demands by
Weeks ago, there was a big wave of union strikes. Some did not reach
their goals (like those in health care and the teachers’ strike),
others had clear victories, like the strikes in Laboratorios Vita or
If [the strike wave] was unable to advance further, it was faced with
the whole policy of the national and intermediate [union] leaderships
that, like the COB, preferred "to look the other way" ("mirar para
otro lado"), while they were negotiating with the government; or they
led the strikes to defeat, like the city teachers’ Confederación. The
strategy of exerting pressure on the government by waiting for some
[result] from endless negotiations only restrains and demobilizes,
leaving the field open for the government in its quest for agreements
with the right wing, businessmen and reactionaries.
However, the dissatisfaction is growing, and there is a hotbed of
conflicts large and small in workplaces and also among peasants and
the landless population, in the universities and among the people.
In the enlarged COB meeting on June 15, there were harsh criticisms of
the government and the negotiating policy that has been followed, and
active measures were demanded because of the Pliego Unico of the COB.
However, only a "state of emergency" was approved, without concrete
proposals for preparing the mobilization. The leadership does not want
to confront the government and prefers to postpone everything until
after the Congress for Social Security.
But it is a matter of passing from words to deeds.
What is lacking is a real plan for struggle by the COB [union
federation] and the unions, a plan that would be widely discussed and
voted on by the rank and file, with a clear program.
A first step is:
Surrounding labor conflicts and workers organizing unions with solidarity
Forging unity and coordination of the struggles
Organizing from the rank and file and with full union democracy
Breaking the subordination to government and to agreements with
businessmen of the COB [trade union federation] and the rest of the
Pursuing unity with other popular sectors in struggle. Unite the
militant unions and workers that want to struggle, taking the
initiative in these tasks.
We need to set up a big movement for the workers’ demands!
Emergency wage increase: SMN [minimum wage] of 1,800 bolivianos [=
$224.44 US, approx.]
Respect for union and organizing rights, and the eight-hour day
No more bosses’ arrogance
Stable employment and jobs for everyone
Nationalization of the "capitalized" businesses without compensation,
under workers’ control
Free education, healthcare and housing
Land and territory
Translation by Yosef M.