Why Bolivian Workers Are Marching Against Evo Morales | NACLA

A rupture with the COB would be highly symbolic and detrimental to Morales at this political juncture. In the wake of his referendum defeat, Morales needs the COB to help restore his credibility, and that of the MAS party, outside of their traditional rural peasant base.

Still, the COB—once the vanguard of the most combative trade union movement in Latin America, and perhaps the world—is today a shadow of its former self, with only 30% of Bolivia’s labor force engaged in the formal economy. And while the COB disputes the government’s claims of minimal strike participation, it’s unclear how many of its affiliates have actually joined in the mobilizations. In its currently weakened state, the COB may be equally in need of maintaining its strong relationship with the government.

At this writing, the COB leadership is in negotiations with top government officials. Discussions are focusing on additional benefits for laid-off Enatex workers with special needs, a prohibition against the closing of additional state enterprises, and guaranteed retention by Senatex of the 180 workers who have not accepted severance pay, with full labor protections. The outcome could be critical in shaping Bolivia’s post-referendum political landscape, and in prefiguring how Bolivia’s popular movements will fare in responding to the coming austerity challenges.

via Why Bolivian Workers Are Marching Against Evo Morales | NACLA

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