VALENCIA, Venezuela, Oct 6 ( Reuters ) – venezuelan car worker Celso Nunez spends his days moonlighting as a mover and deal salvaged build materials in his raddled crimson pick-up. His employer, Ford Motor Co, does not mind. In fact, it is paying him to stay off the problem. With Venezuela ’ second economy in shambles, Ford has furloughed Nunez and 1200 colleagues at its moribund plant hera in Valencia, Venezuela ’ s third-largest city. The company said it wants to call them back when times are good.

Nunez hasn ’ thyroxine reported for exercise in ten months, save for a few days in September to work on a prototype for a raw cargo truck. But he still collects a quarter of his hebdomadally wage of 50,000 bolivars, the equivalent of just $ 1.70 at the widely used bootleg exchange rate. The father of two teenagers counts himself lucky. “ Ford has given me constancy … to help my family, ” said Nunez, proudly wearing his amobarbital sodium factory shirt after a late meet at the plant about the new prototype. “ We know it ’ s not their fault, it ’ s the national site. ” Ford is among approximately 150 multinationals silent hanging on in Venezuela. The once-prosperous OPEC state is now in the fourth year of a recession caused by a fall in oil prices and, economists say, failed policies of its socialistic government. A dearth of bleak materials and plummeting demand has led many to halt or vastly scale back production, furloughing many employees in a nation where british labour party laws ban aggregate layoffs. A handful of companies, including Clorox, Kimberly-Clark, General Mills, General Motors and Harvest Natural Resources, have given up entirely, abandoning assets or selling them cheap. Most multinationals, however, say they want to keep at least a minimum bearing to be ready for a future upturn in Venezuela, home to the universe ’ south largest rise oil reserves. In Valencia, retrenchment by multinationals including Fiat Chrysler, Colgate Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson and Nestle SA have rendered the city a dear ghost town. end week, Nestle suspended operations at a baby food plant there, blaming a miss of supplies. In a argument, Nestle said it continues to pay the plant ’ s 80 workers and remains invest to Venezuela and about 3200 employees at other factories there .

DUST ON SEMI-ASSEMBLED CARS

At Ford, the caller said its Valencia factory had assembled about 400 cars through August of this class, compared with 17,000 units in 2012. hush, the No. 2 U.S. car manufacturer said in an e-mail it “ has no plans to leave the country. ” The drastically reduced work schedules, it added, is a room to “ adapt to the local market ’ sulfur needs. ” Ford began selling cars in dollars in 2015 so it could buy parts without requesting unvoiced currentness via government central controls. early automakers followed lawsuit, but have not been able to sell many cars because few Venezuelans can afford them. Venezuela ’ sulfur car assembly output slumped to 2,849 units in 2016 from a record 172,418 units in 2007, according to car industry group Cavenez. Sales, including imports, plunged to 3,008 survive year from 491,899 in 2007. At dealerships including Ford, Chrysler and Toyota, Venezuelan-made luxury vehicles sit without buyers, priced equally a lot as $ 20,000 more than in early countries. Costs are inflated by imported parts and few economies of scale, analysts said. To stay afloat in such conditions, Ford and early multinationals have shortened shifts, reduced payrolls and focused on cheaper products, according to unions and company officials. The cutbacks make for scenes like that at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Valencia, where dust gathers on semi-assembled 2016 Jeep Cherokees, still missing windshields and mirrors. On a late day, approximately 20 employees stood at the entrance to the plant, which sold more than 25,000 units in 2007 but lone about 150 this year. About 60 percentage of workers stay dwelling, earning a divide of their salaries. The rest come in but are confined to maintenance and administrative activities, employees and marriage leaders said. Despite the hard conditions, Fiat Chrysler has told employees it does not plan to close, said Henry Ospina of the Fiat Chrysler union. “ But there is anxiety, ” he said. A Fiat Chrysler spokesman said the company was making “ its best efforts to keep production at levels adequate to the handiness of inputs and components. ” The ship’s company declined further comment. “ PSEUDO-EMPLOYEES, ” FREE FOOD

Though many multinational workers said they feel like “ pseudo-employees, ” they fare better than most unemployed Venezuelans, who struggle to buy food and medicine. Payments from country wellbeing programs lag the triple-digit inflation. As of April 2016, half of Venezuela ’ s working population was either idle or employed only in half-time, “ informal ” jobs, like street peddle, according to the end available official statistics. Compounding the pain, consumer outgo slumped by 15 percentage last class and is expected to decline by however another 25 percentage this year, according to local consulting group Ecoanalitica. venezuelan businesses are enduring their worst moment in decades, with at least two in every 10 factories halted, according to a Conindustria, the state ’ s chief diligence association. President Nicolas Maduro ’ second government defends policies, like widely-criticized currency controls, that many businesses say wrecked the economy. He blames the halve of international vegetable oil prices since 2014, which slashed Venezuela ’ south revenues. Maduro besides accuses extraneous firms of intentionally limiting investment and production as share of an “ economic war ” waged by political opponents and the United States. The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for gloss. At some multinationals, furloughed employees are still allowed to eat lunch at cafeteria of halted plants – a big fringe benefit at a time of increasing hunger. Fiat Chrysler serves up staples like chicken, rice, pasta and plantains casual to 60 of its 800 workers. A schedule prioritizes the neediest. like arrangements exist at Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson. “ It ’ s one meal I don ’ t have to pay for at home, ” said Pedro Rodriguez, 44, who has worked equitable six days this year at Fiat Chrysler, his employer of two decades. “ There are colleagues who alone eat half the meals and take the other half home because the situation is hood. ”

TIRES AS SEVERANCE

To get around stern layoff rules, many multinationals have offered voluntary buyouts. Ford launched a “ voluntary legal separation program ” in 2016 that approximately 800 employees, or 40 percentage of its work force, signed onto. many use the severance payments to start businesses like bakeries or selling construction materials, workers said. But many of these ventures are nowadays struggling, besides. At Fiat Chrysler, a severance extend included four new tires, each of which is worth the equivalent of a monthly factory engage in Venezuela. As of August, 23 workers had accepted : some planned to sell their tires and use the proceeds to emigrate. elsewhere in Valencia, multinationals have struggled to adapt to other politics rules, including nonindulgent price controls for some products like milk and soap. The prices rarely keep up with inflation. For exemplify, a Colgate-Palmolive soap plant has been shut since February. Workers there said company officials told them it could not cover costs if it sold soap at the mandate price, peer to less than $ 0.01 per soap cake at the bootleg substitution pace. Colgate-Palmolive in Venezuela did not respond to requests for gloss. Workers said Colgate recently restarted production of price-controlled toothpaste, packaged in brown cardboard. The recycle boxes are cheaper than its common red packaging. Earlier, it stopped producing children ’ randomness flavors and toothpaste with bleaching agent, reducing its portfolio of 300 products to less than a twelve, said union congressman Felix Bello. Johnson & Johnson, which once sold everything from gargle to moisturizers, now only produces pantie liners, a feminine hygiene product.

hush, the U.S. drugmaker agreed not to lay off any of its 157 Venezuelan factory employees. only three of the factory ’ s seven production lines are in operation, said union representative Jaime Guevara. Workers not on the production trace do maintenance work. “ Johnson & Johnson has a province to our employees and the communities in which we live and work, ” a ship’s company spokeswoman said. ( Aditional report by Tibisay Romero in Valencia ; Writing by Brian Ellsworth and Andrew Cawthorne ; Editing by Christian Plumb, Marla Dickerson and Paulo Prada )

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