Venezuela’s ongoing energy crisis has already resulted in power cuts of up to four hours a day. Now, in an additional bid to relieve the overstressed electrical grid, President Nicolás Maduro has instituted a two-day workweek for public employees.
Already off on Fridays, state workers will also be free on Wednesdays and Thursdays until further notice – yet continue to draw a full week’s pay, arguably not the most efficient option for a country whose economy, experts say, is nearing “total collapse.”
The crisis has prompted Maduro to make a series of odd moves, from pleading with women to stop using hairdryers to announcing a plan to move the nation’s clocks forward a half-hour. But while he and his Socialist Party await their perfect storm – or at least some rain, to relieve a drought that has reduced the water levels at the main hydroelectric dam – the administration continues to be walloped by a drop in oil revenue, nearly unimaginable inflation and a currency rendered close to worthless.
And now the populace, already suffering through rolling blackouts and shortages of so many goods, will have to contend with a steep drop-off in services, as 2.8 million public-sector employees report for work only on Monday and Tuesday.
Maduro’s term as president officially has another three years to go, but he might have gone too far with this latest power play. He just might find his own workweek reduced to zero days well before 2019.