President Hugo Chavez announced a new Work and Knowledge Mission, which aims to create 2.8 million jobs over the next eight years.
Chavez made the announcement while at a meeting of United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) members in Aragua state, saying the mission would be launched this year, but he did not specify a date.
He explained that the mission would revise the “bureaucratic and inefficient” model of employment currently used in Venezuela, where “a huge number of people are hired without it being necessary and without the necessary training”.
A large proportion of Venezuela’s formal workforce works for the state, and the practice of “amigismo” or clientelism, hiring of friends and family, is widespread. Further, over 40% of Venezuelans and Venezuelan residents work as informal workers, without labour rights or security.
“Creative work, productive work, knowledge and work, a lot of people aren’t properly trained… that’s why I didn’t want the mission to just be called ‘work’,” said Chavez.
He said the areas of training the mission would focus on are agriculture, manufacturing, construction, tourism and trade, and explained that much of the training would be for the development of projects coming out of the communal councils.
One venture that will work with the new mission is the construction of 1,075 km of new interstate railway. The president of the State Institute for Railways (IFE), Franklin Perez, said they hoped to generate 3,500 “dignified” jobs in the first phase of construction.
A previous work mission, Mission About Face was launched in 2004 with a focus on technical training and job creation, and included small monthly assistance payments. The mission worked closely with the literacy missions, and was also linked to training for cooperative formation, however the cooperative movement has significantly declined over the last four years.
Chavez first announced the new work mission at the May Day march earlier this year. At the time he said the government hoped to launch the mission by the end of the year, and that it would aim to create 3.5 million jobs over eight years. He also said then that the Bolivarian government has created an additional 3.3 million “productive” jobs, seeing unemployment drop from 14.6% in 1999 to 8.6% in March this year, a decrease of over 40%.