Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro decreed a series of new laws Tuesday, including job protection for workers across the country through to 2018. The employment decree states that for three years a worker cannot be terminated without just cause.
Following the Dec. 6 legislative elections, leadings members of the MUD coalition, which won a huge majority in the National Assembly, signaled their intention to engage in mass layoffs once they take their posts Jan. 5.
Among the other decrees approved by the Venezuelan leader include a law aimed at increasing the authority of grassroots decision-making bodies, which were created as part of the government's efforts to delegate power more directly to Venezuelans.
The decree creates, as an organ of the state, the Presidential Councils of the People's Government. These councils, covering a wide-variety of areas such as workers' rights, peasant issues, and sexual diversity, provide a direct channel to the president. The councils also operate as an auditing mechanism, ensuring proposed projects and laws are completed as intended.
In addition, Maduro created the Popular Council of State, which, like the Presidential Councils, is a space where working-class Venezuelans can participate directly in decision making and the workings of government.
The announcement was made during the president's television program, “In Contact with Maduro,” where the Venezuelan President centered his comments on the urgent needs of his socialist party’s Bolivarian Revolution.
Maduro also proposed holding an open forum with social movements where proposals to bring about “the rebirth of the revolution” would be discussed.
President Maduro, who insisted that everything would be done in accordance with the country’s constitution, also formally decreed that the remains of the late President Hugo Chavez would remain in the Mountain Barrack, which MUD representatives, after winning the election, signaled that they intended to move. According to the decree, the barrack will be transferred to the Hugo Chavez Foundation for 100 years in order to ensure that his remains are left undisturbed.
Maduro also signed a law that granted greater social security to members of the armed forces and their families.
Some of the laws signed Tuesday were announced earlier this month but only can come into force once decreed and published in the official state gazette.
The National Assembly gave the president constitutional authority to decree laws March 15, long before the Dec. 6 elections that saw the governing socialists lose control of the parliament to the opposition.
Since its inauguration, President Maduro has only decreed four laws through the so-called Enabling Law, which will expire Dec. 31.