The Cuban economy has to be efficient and, we Cubans can make it work efficiently both in the financial and human sectors, based on the resources we have available and with better and more effective distribution of wealth.
The economic battle is today, more than ever before, our main commitment and the core for the ideological work of our leaders, the sustainability and preservation of our social system depends on it, said Cuban President Raul Castro on April 4. He also noted that "without a solid and dynamic economy, without eliminating unnecessary expenses and waste, we won’t be able to keep on improving the people’s living standards, nor maintaining and improving the high levels already reached in education and health care which are guaranteed free of charge for all citizens."
Obviously, the current process aimed at reducing bulky payrolls and redundant workers is in tune with the aforementioned principles. It is nothing improvised or hasty, but a strategy to meet the mandate of the people of Cuba contained in the Constitution of the Republic which states that its socialist character and its social and political content are irrevocable.
WHY THESE TRANSFROMATIONS?
Making each working post an efficient one, having payrolls with at least 80 percent of the workers directly linked to the production of goods and services or to other main activity, which is not precisely today’s reality, are crucial goals. Just a few examples prove the need for this significant strategy.
At present, the Cuban state invests 1.5 billion dollars to guarantee food for the population; this expenditure adds to the fact that 50 percent of the country’s cultivable lands are unexploited; in some work centers the security personnel outnumbers the workers in the productive areas; if there is such a large number of workers in unproductive activities it is due to deficiencies of the economic planning system. This inefficiency has caused increasing economic unbalance, also influenced by the international financial situation: increasing import prices and falling export prices.
If to do the job of one worker, we have three people employed, and if these three persons are not linked to the production sphere; if at the same time the industry is inefficient and the workers are not the best prepared for the job, how can we increase production? How can we increase our services? How can we raise salaries or the people’s living standards?
The reduction of bulky payrolls, excessive subsidies and inappropriate free services, along with relieving the state from bearing on its shoulders the burden of a certain group of activities, must allow the financing of salary increases in the near future, said vice-president of the Council of Ministers Marino Murillo Jorge.
These are the major reasons suggesting the need to improve labor and salary relations for workers declared redundant or left available; this includes the abolition of a series of resolutions issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, which are no longer in tune with the country’s economic reality. This measure aims at guaranteeing rational employment and strengthening the role of the salary and its relationship with production results.
HISTORY PROVES IT
The Cuban people have resisted the economic war and the cruel blockade launched by US Imperialism, which was joined by the fall of the Socialist camp; these two factors had an increased negative impact on the Cuban economy whose consequences were beginning show in the 1980s, due to the bulky payrolls and paternalistic behavior which discouraged workers, led to high levels of absenteeism and indiscipline with their relevant effects on efficiency and productivity.
We, Cubans have faced a very difficult situation for nearly five decades, given the strategy adopted, which not only saved the Revolution and Socialism but also made it possible to maintain the social achievements already reached. All this happened despite aggressions, subversive actions, tropical storms, inexperience and inefficiency that have crushed the will of men and women who, although amidst these complex conditions, have developed a social policy that is an example to follow by the world, even when the country has not achieved production levels according to that great effort.
But now, the future of our homeland demands new decisions to keep improving and advancing firmly towards the country’s development. In this endeavor, it is the Cuban women and men, along with the Communist Party and the Revolution, and making use of our own resources, who have to make the decisions. No one will come from abroad to tell us how we must do it, or to give us anything to do it, we do not expect that to happen; we must put into practice, with determination and commitment, the concept expressed by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro on May 1st, 2000, when he said that Revolution means emancipating ourselves on our own and with our own efforts.
HOW ARE WE DOING IT?
Firstly, we count on the people, with all the workers, since this is and will be the key principle of the Revolution, and the factor that consolidated our unity around the Revolution.
In order to carry out this process, it is crucial to reconsider the number of working posts at every center, as a step that will allow analyzing the ones to be retained and the number of redundant workers.
The principle of Proven Capacity will determine who will stay and who will be declared redundant, on the basis that each work post must be occupied by the worker with the highest capacity and this process must exclude any kind of favoritism, discrimination of genre or any other kind.
In this direction we are all equal. This means, the capable or the redundant workers has nothing to do with age or sex; it responds to the criterion that this procedure establishes.
If declared redundant or available, a worker must know his or her options to continue his working life, as well as his/her social right and duties. Similarly, the worker must be informed how he can put forth any claims.
In this process, no one will be left on his own. Cuba is reorganizing its economy and its labor force to make them more efficient and to improve the people’s living standards. Certainly we could find households that will be affected during the implementation of this strategy; however they will always be assisted by our humanistic Revolution, by evaluating and proposing solutions according to their real capacities.
The Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) plays a key role in every work center, so the organization must take part in this process with all its leaders fully prepared for their commitment. Similarly, the Communist Party, the Young Communist League must follow the process so that it takes place in tune with the principles of justice that characterize the Revolution, which is the soul of our people, since this process is aimed at making the will of the people guarantee a sustainable future.
Doing the job with required efficiency, quality and productivity; having an experience and knowledge demonstrated by the concrete results of the work; meeting the discipline and behavior requirements established by the state-budgeted center, company or higher staff organization, as well as those specific requirements established for each working post, and having the personal characteristics required by certain jobs or occupations, as well as the labor discipline established by internal rules; having the formal qualifications as expressed by school certificates or diplomas, in tune with the requirements established to apply for the job the worker aspires to get.
THE EXPERT COMMITTEE
This is the advisory organ, whose major mission is making recommendations to the head of the work entity about the proven capacity of the worker in order to decide his or her stay in the post. Work centers, legally considered as national strategic centers, will keep their commissions they currently have in tune with the legislation in force.
The committee is elected by the workers´ general assembly and by open vote, based on the principles of the best democracy. The assembly will present the members appointed by the staff and the union. The committee will elect its Coordinator at a first meeting. The committee takes the request for the consideration of a given case and issues its recommendation to the authorized head, who will take the final decision.
A worker who needs to be relocated as a consequence of payroll reductions in the areas where he/she was employed due to: reorganization process of the State Central Administration agencies and bodies and other national entities; rationalization processes following structural changes or conversion of work centers; merger or elimination of work centers; technical or technological transformations; reduction in activity levels; as well as studies of labor organization or other measures aimed at making more rational use of labor.
HOW TO DECLARE A WORKER REDUNDANT
The head of the labor entity, after consulting the trade union organization and bearing in mind the recommendation given by the Expert Committee, determines the workers to remain working at the center and those that are redundant. This analysis includes all workers with different contract modalities. The heads or executives are declared in employment or redundant by the organs with authority to appoint or elect them, according to proceedings established by the law or by the specific rules relevant to the case.
THE SOCIAL SECURITY ASPECT
If a worker who is declared redundant is receiving a pension for being partially impaired they will continue to get their pension plus compensation during the time he/she is out of work or available.
The available worker who, during the period of time he/she gets the salary compensation, meets the age and working time requirements established by the Social Security Law may request the concession of a pension for age. The proceedings relevant to this action will be carried out by the entity that declared the worker redundant. In case of death or presumption of death, the proceedings will be done in favor of his/her relatives with the right to receive the pension.
Any worker declared redundant and then available for having rejected the relocation proposal has the right to ask for a pension for age, if he/she meets the requirements of age and service time. All workers temporarily or permanently relocated or receiving salary compensation, also receive the financial amounts granted by the social security system that he/she is entitled to, and that have to do with subsidies in cases of disease or accident.
Any woman, declared redundant and temporarily relocated, or receiving a salary compensation, who arrives at the required pregnancy stage for maternity leave will receive the treatment established by current legislation.
Any worker that has been temporarily or permanently relocated in the state sector will be paid according to the new post. Any available worker that could not be relocated will get a salary guarantee equivalent to one month full basic salary, at that point the labor relation is terminated. After a month period, if that worker has not found employment and he/she has a record of 10 or more years of service, he/she will keep a relation with their labor center and will be paid a salary guarantee of up to 60 percent of his/her basic salary according to their service record: one month pay for those with 10 to 19 years of service; two months salary for those with 20 to 25 years of service; three months salary for those with 26 to 30 years of work; up to five months salary for those with over 30 years of service.
Any worker declared redundant that in an unjustified way rejects the relocation proposal in the state sector will only have the right to receive a one month salary guarantee equivalent to 60 percent of his/her basic salary, after that the labor relation is terminated.
These are full time or part time vacancies needing to be occupied in the original work center or in the specific sector, for which the worker must meet the established requirements; self-employment activities; lands leased in usufruct; and other jobs in the state and non-state sectors.
RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS
If any worker is aware of any violation of the formal aspects of the norms and proceedings applied, he/she has the right to make a claim at the local Labor Justice Body in the work center, in tune with the proceedings established for labor rights. If any of the parties does not agree with the verdict of the local justice body, they can file a suit with the corresponding Municipal Court.
SPECIAL SOCIAL SECURITY TREATMENT
Workers with a record of 25 years of service, who are declared redundant and can’t find a job, while they meet, in a five-year period, the requirements established by the law related to the gradual increase of the retirement age, will not need to have a labor relation to get their pension for age, and the relatives have the right to request that pension in case of death of that worker.
If a redundant worker can’t find a job for a prolonged period of time, they can request exceptional temporary financial assistance from the social security system, which will be approved or rejected by Municipal People’s Power Administrative Council. / Taken from Granma