Many are the workers in Puerto Rico distressed by working conditions. The life of the workers consists of being subjected to disturbing apparatus of production and distribution of commodities for capitalism. That relation leads us to produce more in less time while we live with the uncertainly of not knowing if or when we will get a layoff letter from our job.
For several decades the development of capitalist society has reached the point in which it is now able to reduce workers’ salaries through “contract work” or what is known as the casualization of work. This has become one of the main ways in which workers are hired. Contract work is another way in which to rob workers. Capitalists wash their hands of any obligations to workers by forcing them to sign short-term contracts. This provokes an even more economically unstable situation for workers.
Amidst the colony in ruins, US imperialism through laws like PROMESA, will take advantage of any mechanism to reduce salaries in Puerto Rico. The result, it is hoped, will be the massive mobilization of private capital investment in the territory.
The Wall Street Junta seeks to reduce the minimum wage for workers under 25 to $4.25 an hour. The current average wage in Puerto Rico is between $9.25 and $13 an hour. Even this is too high for the capitalists salivating to invest here. While they will most likely be able to reduce wages, they probably will not implement the Wall Street Junta’s wage clause in one shot. This surely would bring about an immediate reaction from the working class.
This is why the capitalists continue to rely on measures that have been implementing over time, contract labor. Contract labor further degrades the salaries, benefits and working conditions of all workers. This form of employment leaves workers without labor protections and with poverty wages. And all these reductions take place so that capitalists can better compete on the global market.
Yet another way in which our salaries are reduced is with the so-called flex-time. This is a means to contract workers according to productive necessities of the business without paying any overtime. This worsens the situation of 20% of the working class that sustains itself on part-time employment at poverty wages. In 2014, an estimated 250,000 workers were employed at between 1 – 34 hours a week.
Against this tendency, communist workers fight for a planned economy in the hands of the workers in which the means of production are socialized. Only such an economy can guarantee full employment. The working class is not incapable of administering the economic life of society. We have produced wealth and run industry for the capitalists. Now it is time to produce wealth and run industry for the working masses.
We urgently need a new political direction with workers’ assemblies and an ideological focus on overcoming private property on the means of production and taking political power. It is only under this revolutionary vision that the working class will be able to make a qualitative leap forward. On the contrary, we will only continue to live in misery.