Jimmy Roque Martinez

Photo: radiorebelde.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Following the Guidelines of the Cuban Communist Party, Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health has begun downsizing its services, relocating several consulting rooms in different polyclinics to only one or two major polyclinics in each municipality.

Even though this strategy makes these services less accessible, increases demand and eliminates jobs, very few communities have opposed it directly.

Now, a new downsizing process is in the works for the first half of 2016, this time within Havana’s optician’s network, or so workers in the sector have been saying in the capital.

Currently, there are anywhere between three and six optician’s in each of Havana’s municipalities. Each has a receptionist, a technician who cuts and assembles the glasses, a storeroom clerk and a manager. Some even employ glass repair technicians.

What the Empresa Provincial de Opticas de La Habana (“Provincial Opticians Company of Havana”) intends to do is leave one, “main” optician’s in each municipality, where several technicians would work. There would also be a storeroom clerk, a receptionist and a manager at each of these locales.

All other optician’s would merely take orders and employ only a receptionist and a manager.

The glasses that had previously been assembled at these locales would now have to be taken to the “main” optician’s for this and brought back to the “receiving” optician’s for delivery.

This measure adds an additional step and delay to all orders and, what’s worse, eliminates several jobs, leaving storeroom clerks at receiving optician’s out on the street.

The official delivery times for glasses are the following:

  • Bifocal glasses are delivered to customers in 7 days
  • Monofocal glasses: 2 days
  • Progressive glasses: 7 days

This is usually not the case and waiting times are greater. Some customers claim to have waited a month to receive as essential an item as glasses. Under the new system, real waiting times are likely to become even longer.

It remains to be seen what will become of the storeroom clerks left without jobs.

Probably, as has been the case previously, they will be offered a less-than-appealing job to ensure they tender their resignation willingly, so as to be rid of them quickly. That way, they are spared the trouble of having to fire them directly.

The other alternative is to assign them the category of “available workers,” the euphemism used by bureaucrats to refer to those laid off following such downsizing processes.

According to the Labor Code currently in effect, the State company is only required to pay a month’s salary to the person who becomes “available.” After such time, the person does not see another cent from the company.

Cuba’s bureaucracy continues to essay new methods to lay off people cautiously and, all the while, to evince its inability to organize the nation’s economy effectively.


Jimmy Roque Martinez

Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

One thought on “Havana To Downsize Optician’s System

  • Did not see this coming!

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