Union Leader Says Wages Frozen in Cuba

HAVANA TIMES, May 2 — The Cuban government will not increase wages until “labor adjustments” are completed across the country and unnecessary subsidies are eliminated, said union head Salvador Valdes on Monday when speaking to the Trabajadores (Workers) newspaper.

Those labor readjustments will involve the elimination of 250,000 jobs by the end of this year, according to statements by the head of International Relations Department of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC), Raymundo Navarro.

The CTC fully supports the layoffs and salary policy.

Valdes, who is the secretary general of the CTC, emphasized the need to revitalize the socialist principle of distribution through “systems of pay based on work output.” In addition, he pointed to the need for increased productivity and efficiency for any increases to be reflected in the incomes of workers.

Even with the provision of free basic services like health care and education, in addition to subsidized prices on many goods and services, the average wage of about 450 pesos a month ($18 USD), is insufficient for the subsistence of families on the island.

5 thoughts on “Union Leader Says Wages Frozen in Cuba

  • The reason that workers wages and salaries are so low under the Cuban/Soviet model of socialism is that the socialist state has owned “all” the instruments of production (just as Engels and Marx prescribed in the Communist Manifesto and all their lives). By owning everything productive, all the surplus values created by workers-state employees, has gone directly into the treasury of the state.

    The state bureaucracy has then been in control of this reservoir of surplus value, and its disposition has been by sectarian, bureaucratic decision.

    Since Marxism has redefined capitalism as bourgeois material prosperity, the last thing sectarian bureaucrats would do with the reservoir of surplus value is distribute it to the workers.

    What is needed in Cuba is not a decision of the government to raise wages, but a new, cooperative mode of socialist production in which the state merely co-owns most industry and commerce silently, and allows those who do the work to be the primary owners of the workplace. This would re-institute private productive property rights, and utilize them adroitly for socialist construction.

  • Michael,
    I see no contradictions between our two comments. I simply focus on Cuba because that is what havanatimes is primarily about.

  • With all due respect to Moses and Hubert Geischen, the history of the American labor movement during its tragic decline in the last 40 years has been one of compromising and agreeing to a two-tiered system where older members received full benefits and greater salaries from which new hires were shut out. With threats of moving jobs offshore, most unions have had to eat these losses. The only unions which seem to be excempt are those of the public service sector (teachers, state workers, fire fighters and policemen), health professionals and other categories which can’t really be moved offshore. Hence, the CTC is not alone in compromising and giving away what should be the fundamental, and non-negotiable, rights of their membership

  • No self-respecting union does automatically agree with the government.
    In Cuba all the self-respecting unions are illegal!.
    With the aim of laying off 20% workforce, how about laying off 20% of the CTC officials starting with that useless Mr Valdes?!

  • Where else but Cuba on this planet does the Union which represents the workers AGREE to massive firings. Why bother to have a Union? What do union dues pay for? How is it that the self-employed need a union? Against what employee are they being represented? Cuba has asked to be treated as an equal but when policies such as these continue, it is hard to take them seriously.

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