Union leader recognizes low salary as the biggest labor concern in Cuba
The Secretary General of the Central Workers of Cuba (CTC, only union), Ulises Guilarte, acknowledged that the low salaries of the state sector are the main concern of the workers of the island and advocated a salary reform instead of "putting patches ", inform official media today.
Guilarte addressed the problem of wages during a union event in Santiago de Cuba, one of the provincial plenums prior to the next congress of the CTC, according to the state website Cubadebate.
The average salary in a state employment, a sector that includes the majority of the active population in the island of planned economy, barely reaches 30 dollars per month, which is not enough compared to the high prices of products in the retail market. controlled by the State-, as the union leader admitted.
For Guilarte, details Cubadebate, "the solution lies in just approving a general reform of the salary and not continue putting patches in certain sectors, which complicate (complicate) and provide demotivation to other branches of the economy."
"To solve this problem is not to give workers more paper money, if we did this at the moment, the goods and services that are in the market would end, and therefore prices would increase again, that is, there would be more money, but equal purchasing capacity, "he said.
This wage reform is conditioned, he said, by three variables: monetary and exchange reunification, ensuring "the basic basket of goods and services" by applying the subsidy "to people and not products" and "defining the value of this basket, which conditions the minimum wage in the country. "
He also stressed that insufficient wages have a negative impact on society, since the most qualified workers leave "towards emerging and non-state sectors" (especially tourism) while others suffer from "demotivations" and "labor apathy".
Therefore, he asked the workers to "resist a little more to solve this problem" and recalled that in Cuba there are also 1.7 million pensioners who charge an average of 280 pesos per month (11.2 dollars), "a figure that it does not solve the problems with the prices of the retail market ".
The difficulty of the Cuban workers to survive with low state salaries in the face of the high prices of basic products on the island, most of them imported, is one of the most recurrent issues that are emerging these days in the popular debates on the reform of the Constitution that will be taken to referendum in February 2019.
Last August, the Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, acknowledged that "insufficient salaries" are one of the main causes of the "dissatisfaction of workers."
Health and education are universal and free access in the Caribbean country, and its citizens receive some basic food from the State through the "supply book".
But that book, which decades ago came to cover much of the needs of the population, including underwear, shoes and toys for children, has been reducing the amount and type of subsidized products.