According to AP, the government of President Hugo Chavez is planning to establish a 6-hour workday under forthcoming legislation.
Labor Minister Roberto Hernandez announced Monday that he would present a proposed bill before the end of the year to reduce the workday from 8 to 6 hours, improve employee benefits and establish "more forceful" penalties for businesses that violate labor laws.
This is a very interesting move at a moment when the world may be entering a global depression. Rather than bailing out the financial sector Venezuela is taking decisive action against the likely threat of unemployment.
It also is a challenge to the rest of the world. Chavez has used Venezuela's oil wealth to promote progressive politics and a concern for the poor from Bolivia to Boston. But this action may have an even greater impact by putting the question of the length of the work week on the agenda. Workers everywhere will be asking if Venezuela can do this, why can't my country.