Venezuelan workers occupy abandoned Clorox plant
By Corina Pons
VALLES DEL TUY, Venezuela, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Hundreds of workers on Friday were occupying two plants belonging to Clorox Co, the U.S. cleaning products maker that has left Venezuela because of the difficult economic conditions.
"We've temporarily occupied the plant because the boss has abandoned it," said Luis Pinango, one of more than 200 workers mounting a round-the-clock vigil at one of Clorox's plants in the Valles del Tuy district to the south of Caracas.
There was a similar situation at the second plant in central Carabobo state, said workers. They were furious at learning they had lost their jobs via a recorded phone message.
In the latest sign of dissatisfaction from private businesses with President Nicolas Maduro's running of the South American OPEC nation's economy, Clorox announced its exit on Monday, saying its business was not viable and that it would sell its assets.
The company said operating restrictions imposed by the government, economic uncertainty and supply disruptions would have led to considerable operating losses. Its share price rose on the announcement, despite the company saying it expected to incur after-tax exit costs of $60 million to $65 million, or 46 cents to 50 cents per share, in its fiscal 2015.
Various multinationals, from Colgate-Palmolive Co to Avon Products Inc, have been warning of hits to their balance sheets and scaling back operations in Venezuela, citing Byzantine currency controls and a slowing economy.
Though official GDP data for 2014 is not available, economists say Venezuela is in recession. Annual inflation is more than 60 percent and the complicated multi-layered currency controls make it difficult for importers to access dollars.
Clorox workers are hoping Maduro's government will allow them to take over and run the plants, where boxes of cleaning products and machines could be seen on Friday in evidence of the hasty closure of operations. Continuación...