HAVANA TIMES — In a previous post, I mentioned that, according to the Cuban press, the country’s “Draft Labor Bill” is now to be discussed by regional parliamentary commissions as part of the yet-unfinished debate process surrounding this new legislation.
Cuba’s media has already begun to cover a number of very brief segments of the debate surrounding a bill whose approval could constitute a profound change to Cuba’s labor relations.
The part of the new labor code that would regulate work relations in the non-State sector grants employers a series of unheard-of faculties, while leaving employees virtually without any real protection before the management’s decisions.
In essence, the new code seeks to empower Cuba’s emerging bourgeoisie and, in my opinion, people’s attitudes towards the instrument define the current gap between Cuba’s contemporary Left and Right, or, to avoid such explicitly ideological terms, between those of us who defend social justice and those who champion a kind of authoritarian market pragmatism.
My proposal at this stage of the debate process is to take up our pens and to begin writing our deputies en masse.
It doesn’t matter whether we have any faith in a system that tends to be bureaucratic and not too receptive to criticisms… the point is not to give these unilateral decisions a political justification through our inaction.
If those employed in the non-State sector are to get the brunt of a capitalist maneuver, then let our collective reply be “NOT IN OUR NAME!”
With respect to how efficacious this can be, we should recall that there are very few situations in which failing to do anything is ultimately more productive than taking action, no matter how slim one’s chances of success may be.
From what I’ve seen on TV, there have been a number of very lucid postures among some deputies in connection with the Bill. I was particularly impressed by the remarks of a legal expert who very clearly underscored the need for labor relations to be established upon the acknowledgement of all the rights of those who work.
At the moment, we cannot predict whether such postures will prevail (in which case, we could be witness to the welcome withdrawal of the Bill in its current and unquestionably terrible form). What I am certain of is that we must try and help our representatives become aware of how unacceptable the code is, and, most importantly, make citizens aware of their capacity to make decisions and take clear and direct action when the interests of the majority are betrayed.
In the event the said Bill were approved by a majority – as happened last year with the “Cacho Code”, a tax law applicable to artists, about which we heard next to nothing, save for the fairly incoherent statements made by renowned Cuban artist Kcho on television – we must be ready to call for the removal of those who allegedly represent us in parliament (and voted in favor of the new labor law).
We must do this because voting in favor of the new Labor Bill means voting against the legitimate rights and interests of the working class and against Cuba’s current Constitution.