News »

Employment in Cuba, one month into monetary re-ordering

Cuba trabajo -tabacaleraThe stories told in the lobby are many, and the space in the reception small, given the number of people arriving at all hours. A young man who chose not to continue his studies, the mother of small children seeking a stable income to support her family, those who want to contribute to improving their household finances now that subsidies have been eliminated… These and more can be heard these days in any Municipal Labor Directorate.

Since the beginning of the Ordering Task in the country, an increase has been noted in the number of individuals visiting these offices in search of work. “On average, we have observed that young people under 35 years of age represent 34% of those looking to join the workforce, and of the total number of people who accept the positions proposed, women represent 38%,” stated Enit Martínez González, director of Informatics at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), speaking with Granma.

“To date, 81,054 persons have been assisted, and 50% have accepted the offers we made. Of the vacant positions available, 65% are in the state sector, with the enterprise system predominating,” the young specialist reports.

When asked about other sectors seeking employees, Martínez stated that the non-state sector accounts for 35%. More than 2,000 persons have been offered jobs with agricultural cooperatives, representing 17% of the positions accepted in the non-state sector.

Another important development is that the application developed by the mtss information technology department, staffed by young experts eager to contribute to improving the Ministry’s services to the population, has already been downloaded some 74,872 times since January 28, when it was made available to users.

“The Ministry of Labor has been closely monitoring our listing of offers to ensure that it is as up to date as possible, to provide more effective services for the people,” Martínez emphasized.

Management reports that never before has the stalking room at Pinar del Rio’s Niñita Valdés tobacco processing center been so full. Of the 130 positions available, to sort and classify leaves for export, in the past at most a hundred were filled, and many by workers who do not come every day.

“Some request sick days, others go on leave, so we always have vacant positions,” reported administrator Yaquelín Morejón.

She notes, however, that interest in employment has been awakened since the re-ordering began, and that these first weeks of its implementation have been very positive for the center.

“The impact has been tremendous. Just imagine, we were having a hard time hiring production workers, and today we are at full capacity,” she said.

Among those who have joined the workforce at the Pinar del Río center is Ana Lidia Ricardo, a young accountant, who had previously preferred to stay home, given the low salaries being offered.

“I worked before, but left because they paid very little and it was not enough for anything,” she confessed.

Like Ana, more than 900 individuals have found employment, over the last month, in tobacco processing centers in Pinar del Río.

Victor Fidel Hernandez Perez, the Ministry of Agriculture’s provincial representative, explained that this injection of labor is very valuable since the tobacco industry contributes a significant amount of hard currency to the country’s economy.

The shortage of workers, traditionally female in selection and stalking of tobaccos leaves, has been a problem for some time, delaying the processing of leaves, leading to extra expenses for their conservation and affecting quality.

He reported that more than a third of last year’s harvest, some 8,000 tons, are still in storage across the province, waiting to be processed.

This is a reality that is repeated year after year, that requires appealing to persons employed in other sectors, to support the processing of tobacco leaf with voluntary work days.

The fact that hundreds of Pinar del Río residents have joined this workforce over the last few weeks, has created a much more favorable situation.

Interest in these positions has grown so sharply that the availability of benches (a kind of table where workers sort leaves) has been exhausted, requiring a special effort to quickly construct and install more, Hernandez reported.

Although the tobacco industry has welcomed the largest number of new workers in Pinar del Río, it is not the only sector that has benefitted from renewed interest in jobs since the implementation of monetary re-ordering.

Jorge Luis Salas Rosette, the provincial government’s coordinator of economic programs and objectives, reported that 5,393 persons have inquired about jobs during the last month, and 2,997 accepted positions offered.

According to the official, the figure exceeds several times over what has been recorded during an entire year, in the recent past, and includes a significant number of young people (1,339) and women (1,228).

“This volume of applications is totally out of the ordinary,” he stated. “There were always people looking for work, but not in these numbers, or over such a short period of time.”

Across the rest of the country, the picture is similar. Oscar Sanamé Véliz, director of Labor and Social Security in the provincial capital of Camagüey, commented that, since January 1, there has been an increase in the influx of job seekers.

In previous years, some ten to 15 people a day visited the central office, today the figure exceeds 40, he said.

In an effort to speed up procedures, offices were opened in the city’s 19 People’s Councils, to undertake the process of assisting citizens in vulnerable situations, due to insufficient household income, and those in search of a job.

According to the official, 1,896 persons (63% of the total across the province) were seeking work and of these, 1,557 have been placed in enterprises or state-budgeted centers, as well as the non-state sector of the economy.

“The rest,” he explained, “did not accept the job offers, because they did not find them to their liking or decided to wait for another alternative more in line with their personal expectations.”

The largest number of placements were in agriculture, construction and public health, in addition to security and protection.

The principal investment projects underway in the province, including the 26th of July Cement Factory in Nuevitas and tourist development on Cayo Cruz, north of the municipality of Esmeralda, have been able to add to their skilled workforces.

During the last session of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil Fernández, commented that two aspects of the monetary re-ordering would come together to generate additional motivation for work: increased salaries and the elimination of excessive subsidies and gratuities.

Both factors, he said, would oblige many unemployed persons to seek a reliable source of income to meet their expenses. A few weeks before “zero hour,” when implementation began, his words were confirmed in real life.

During a recent series of tours around the country, President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez noted that the population is “realizing that working is a necessity, to have an income and be able to lead a decent life with their families.”

In view of this reality, he warned that increasing employment in the productive and service sectors is essential, especially in areas linked to the strategic axes of economic and social development.

At the same time, he emphasized the importance of providing effective responses and ensuring that no one looking for a job fails to find one. This is precisely one of the challenges facing those conducting the re-ordering, he said. Now management (and the Ordering Task itself) faces the challenge of retaining workers who have joined their staffs, making sure that incentives exist, to avoid a setback in one of the successes of the process thus far.

(Taken from Granma)

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. The mandatory fields are marked. *