Multiple and Generalized Sclerosis

Erasmo Calzadilla

Not too long ago a law was passed approving the hike in the minimum retirement age in Cuba by five years.  A short time later, in April 2010, President Raul Castro made reference to the millions of redundant workers who would begin (and now are) being laid off or “relocated” from their jobs.

From what I’ve heard, those people who are most prone to lose their jobs are the ones last hired – and the last hired are almost always young people with little time in the workforce.

Something like that happened to my friend, Onel Calero, who only a few months ago had begun working as an art instructor at the Lenin High School.  Now he’s on the street after having to leave that position.

If the tembas (mid-lifers) are retained and young people are laid off, the combined result of these employment policies will be an increase in the average age of active workers and a decrease in that of the unemployed.

But there are additional consequences.

Bosses are typically older workers who don’t want to retire (only those in the military can live off of their retirement incomes), and older workers are usually conservative, risk averse and resigned to the island’s political system.

In addition, there’s no economic competition or any other incentives to make attractive the youth —with their dynamism and creativity— in the eyes of middle-aged and older personnel managers and bosses.

As a result of all this, a structure of employment is now being consolidated across almost all the country: one of gerontocracy and complacency.

2 thoughts on “Multiple and Generalized Sclerosis

  • Here in the States, by contrast, white collar professional workers in their late 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s are particularly vulnerable. If they’ve remained loyal to one corporation, years of “step-increases” in pay make them less attractive to their employers. Moreover, as they progress into later middle age, they may not have the stamina of putting in those 60 to 80 hour work weeks often required by their corporations Also, they may not be able to use, or keep up with, the latest technology as well as their younger colleagues. Woe to those who are laid off in their 50’s! It may take them YEARS, not months, to find new employment, and then often out of their field, at much lower pay levels, for temp agencies, or part-time consulting only. Many in their 60’s are forced to take early retirement at 62–with the consequent reduction in social security benefits! Of course, on the other hand, such a sea change may liberate the creative juices of those who have heretofore given their life blood to their corporation!

  • Ok on one hand they have to layoff 1 million people and on the other they need to increase the retirement age because they do not have sufficient people with the experience to replace those that are working!

    Doesn’t that seems contradictory?

    It seems to me that the problem they actually have is one of training the younger people to do the task that the older people do!

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