CARACAS – Venezuela’s government has imposed a two-day work week on public sector employees in a bid to save electricity amid a severe drought attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon.
“Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will be non-working days in the public sector, with the exception of essential tasks. Likewise, Fridays will not be working days for educational staff” at public grade schools, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz said on Tuesday.
He announced the temporary measure from Venezuela’s largest hydroelectric power station, the massive Guri Dam, whose reservoir has fallen to critically low levels, saying he had received instructions from President Nicolas Maduro.
Later Tuesday, Maduro confirmed that information, saying that the new work week would be in place for at least two weeks and that he had established a special presidential committee to recover Guri’s entire ecosystem.
The government had announced on April 7 that public sector employees should not show up for work on Fridays while the drought-triggered national emergency persisted.
Maduro’s administration also has been carrying out scheduled blackouts, particularly in Venezuela’s interior and at shopping malls.