Cuban President Raul Castro announced a wage increase for workers in the health sector, arguing that their services abroad are the main source of income of the country.
Raul broke the news during the closing speech at the recent Congress of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC by its Spanish acronym). He addressed in his speech the wages in the state sector, forecasting that there will be no immediate changes in the near future for other employees.
The Cuban President was clear: you should not expect pay increases in the public sector at present, except among physicians, commenting that “we cannot plant in the population false expectations in the short term” in an economy whose growth slows progressively despite reforms and the changes implemented in recent years.
Giving a reason, Raul Castro said that if the average wages grew faster than productivity, the effects on the economy and the people would be fatal, explaining that that would mean “eating the future” for the external debt would rise and generate a “inflationary spiral” if the salary increases were not properly supported by the increased supply of goods and services.
“To distribute wealth, you must first create it,” Castro said, repeating his call for the need to work more. The Cuban head of state recognized that the salary does not meet all the needs of workers and their families, leading to apathy and no guarantee that the worker receives as its contribution to society. This situation also discourages the promotion of the most capable to positions of greater responsibility.
Tackling other issues, he recalled that they launched the first phase of the elimination of monetary duality and said that there is dissatisfaction “in the base” with the slowness in the implementation of certain decisions taken by the government he heads.
Raul Castro also called not generate stigma against self-employed and co-operative member who make more than their state counterparts. The Cuban president also said that one should “encourage and attract foreign investment,” confirming that the Foreign Investment Law will be discussed by the National Assembly in March 2014.
View full speech here
Photo: René Pérez Massola (taken from Trabajadores newspaper)