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September 2, 2009

VENEZUELA: Government meets automaker over plant closure

Venezuela's government has met with the president of Mitsubishi Motors' local unit in an attempt to re-start operations at an assembly plant shut last month.

Venezuela’s government has met with the president of Mitsubishi Motors’ local unit in an attempt to re-start operations at an assembly plant shut last month.

The meeting between science, technology and light industry minister Jesse Chacon and Toshizo Yamada, president of Mitsubishi de Venezuela, was seeking “to find a solution that benefits both workers and the company so operations can begin again,” a government statement said, according to Dow Jones.

The MMC Automotriz SA plant in eastern Venezuela closed its doors on 24 August due to the “high level of absenteeism, disobedience, aggression and lawlessness of some of the workers,” the firm said at the time.

Productivity hadplunged with the plant assembling just 33 cars a day on average with 1,412 workers, while in 2004, with 590 workers, it was turning out 59 vehicles a day.

Karina Maza Ramos, a spokesperson for MMC Automotriz, said that while the assembler was “optimistic” about the meeting with the government, no agreement was reached. Meetings would continue throughout this week.

The government’s labour ministry ordered the Mitsubishi plant to re-open last week, citing union contracts that don’t allow unilateral shutdowns. But the unit has so far refused, saying the ongoing conflict among workers makes the environment unsafe for operations to re-start.

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