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From: The Socialist issue 496, 19 February 2007: Build a new workers' party

Search site for keywords: Oil - Bolivia


Oil workers request solidarity

WHEN 300 low-paid contract workers at the Gualberto Villarroel oil refinery in Cochabamba, Bolivia formed their own union - the Sindicato Mixto de Trabajadores Gualberto Villarroel - the leaders and most active members of this union were fired. To date, 32 union leaders and workers have been fired.

When the first wave of firings took place eight months ago the refinery was owned by Petrobras, a Brazilian state-run transnational corporation.

The workers petitioned the government and after months of being ignored were finally told that things would change once Evo Morales' MAS government took control of the refinery.

More than two months have now passed since the government purchased the refineries on 11 May and absolutely nothing has changed. The MAS government continues to violate its own law by maintaining two-tiered working conditions at the Gualberto Villarroel refinery.

Many of the fired union leaders and workers have resolved to go to La Paz and begin a hunger strike to force the government to meet their demands.

The CWI-Bolivia, at the request of the fired union leaders and workers of the Gualberto Villaroel oil refinery, asks that union leaders, workers, and members of the CWI assist them in their struggle by sending solidarity letters of protest to the following Bolivian government officials:

Evo Morales, President of the Republic of Bolivia: email:

Carlos Villegas, Hydrocarbons Minister: email: hidrocarburos@

Guillermo Arequipa, President of Yacimientos Petrol'feros Fiscales Bolivianos: email:

Please send copies of the letters to the CWI-Bolivia so they can be displayed publicly by the Gualberto Villarroel contract workers during their hunger strike. email:

For updates see the CWI website:

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