Massive Cuba Layoffs to Continue

Cuban workers will once again march in support of the government on May 1st. The only union federation, the CTC, supports the plan to continue massive layoffs. Photo: Bill Hackwell

HAVANA TIMES, April 27 — The Cuban government projects to lay off 170,000 workers this year as part of a reorganization plan aimed at “updating” the island’s socio-economic system, according to a news report on national television on Thursday.

The current process is “more realistic than the one launched last year,” said outspoken journalist Ariel Terrero, who specializes in economic issues.

He was speaking on his weekly news magazine program “Buenos Dias.”

During his report, it was learned that more than 370,000 Cubans have turned to non-state forms of employment since the beginning of this drive by the government in October 2010.

It is expected that by the end of the year, that year this figure will reach 600,000.

Large scale layoffs are a keystone of the government’s attempt to rescue the depressed economy.  The only labor union federation, the CTC, fully supports the layoff program.


2 thoughts on “Massive Cuba Layoffs to Continue

  • There is a silver lining to this dark cloud, but only if the “labor movement” sees it and takes advantage of it.

    If we assume that most or all of the laid-off workers were redundant–i.e., not needed–in their former positions, then we can assume, as well, that they are now free to find, or create positions that are needed, to produce goods and services for the nation. This means that they are now able to form various worker-owned industrial and commercial cooperatives on the Mondragon cooperative corporation model.

    This could mean enormous good for Cuba and for the refinement or perfection of the Cuban socialist model.

    There seem to be two missing factors in the equation. First, neither the state nor the CTC appear to be taking account of his silver lining, and moving to take advantage of it. This is puzzling, but perhaps it is due to the inertia inherent in the old concept of the state owning everything productive.

    Second, there does not seem to be any consciousness of the critical necessity of the “cooperative entrepreneur.” This is the enterprise leader who is necessary to make a corrected form of socialism functional under socialist state power.

    Such an entrepreneur is simply the person or group of persons who have the vision to see a real need in the community, and the courage to organize a cooperative enterprise to satisfy that need. (Such a person or group of persons might, or might not be members of the PCC.)

    A cooperative entrepreneur, in order to combine material and moral incentives and get the job done, should make slightly more money than other cooperative associates. The differential should be great enough to create incentive, but not great enough to separate the enterprise leader culturally or socially from other enterprise associates.

    This pay, or quarterly profit differential is not a moral question, so much as a practical question. Material incentives are quite necessary under socialism for all workers, but especially so for the leading associates who must use their genius and guts to create new enterprise.

  • Cuba appears to have adopted the very “austerity” policy of laying off public sector employees as have various distressed European countries as well as states and municipalities in the US. The only difference being that Cuban “self-employed” would in the latter cases by designated “unemployed.”

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