Venezuela oil workers selling uniforms to get money for food
For decades, jobs at Venezuela's state-run oil giant PDVSA were coveted for above average salaries, generous benefits and cheap credit that brought home ownership and vacationing abroad within reach for many workers.They are letting the kids sleep in some mornings to save on breakfast. This is some "workers' paradise."
Now, in Venezuela's asphyxiating economy, even PDVSA employees are struggling to pay for everything from food and bus rides to school fees as triple-digit inflation eats away incomes.
They are pawning goods, maxing out credit cards, taking side jobs, and even selling PDVSA uniforms to buy food, according to Reuters' interviews with two dozen workers, family members, and union leaders.
"Every day a PDVSA worker comes to sell his overall," said Elmer, a hawker at the biggest market in the oil city of Maracaibo, as shoppers eyed pricey rice and flour imported from neighboring Colombia.
"They also sell boots, trousers, gloves and masks."
The bulk of PDVSA's roughly 150,000 workers make from $35 to $150 a month plus some $90 dollars in food tickets, as calculated at the black market exchange rate. It is still more than many Venezuelans, but not enough, employees say.