Venezuela's economic depression has claimed yet another victim, as Goodyear Tire announced it would shutter its Venezuela operations and lay off its entire local workforce, the latest foreign corporation to close shop in the crisis-torn county. On Monday, employees arrived at the company’s lone plant in the industrial city of Valencia to find it closed with a letter posted on the door. “Goodyear Venezuela has been forced to cease operations,” according to a copy seen by Bloomberg.
The departure of foreign companies from Venezuela is hardly surprising: in fact, it is remarkable that Goodyear manages to last as long as it did. What was more notable was how the company said goodbye to its employees one last time. According to Eduar Bremo, a member of Goodyear’s factory-workers union, the company is not only paying (token) severance packages to its more than 1,200 employees but is also giving each 10 tires, which have become hugely valuable in the shortage-wracked socialist paradise. According to Bremo, the plant produced some 1,000 tires a day, but a lack of materials and soaring costs forced it to shut its doors.
Years of economic depression and a hostile government have forced companies such as Kellogg and Kimberly-Clark to abandon Venezuela as hyperinflation rendered most of their business conducted in local currency unsustainable.
Other companies have slashed their work forces and limited their product offerings as they hold out for better days. Last week, Ford Motor began offering its employees buyouts as it further scaled back its remaining Venezuela operations. It was unclear if Ford would give out cars as a parting gift to its local employees.