Cuba

Inefficient outsourcing, Cuban style

It’s not just for capitalist countries anymore. Yoani Sanchez writes about one of the results of the Cuban government’s mass layoffs:

She was an attorney at a business in Camagüey until the Day of the Magi, when her gift was a layoff notice. Disheartened, she took home her plastic drinking cup and the small-leafed plant that adorned her desk. At first, she didn’t know how to tell her husband she was no longer employed, nor how to call her parents and tell them their “little girl” had been left aside in the new reorganization of the workforce. She endured and remained silent while eating dinner, as the national news spoke optimistically about a new path to greater efficiency. Only when she was lying down in the dark bedroom did she tell him not to set the alarm because she didn’t have to get up early the next day. Her new life, without a job, had begun.

After cutting the workforce, the administrator at her Camagüey office hired a law firm to deal with legal matters. If before the company’s attorney had handled all the legal paperwork for only 500 Cuban pesos a month (less than 25 US dollars), now the company had to pay 2,000 pesos for the assistance of an outside institution. The arithmetic haunts the unemployed attorney because she can’t even console herself by knowing her dismissal make the company more profitable. Not only that, the most politically reliable and the director’s closest friends remained in their jobs.

Of course one difference between capitalist Western countries and “socialist” Cuba is that in the former, trade unions raise hell about mass layoffs, while in the latter, they excuse them in Thatcheresque terms.

“Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities and services with inflated payrolls and losses that damage our economy and result counterproductive, create bad habits and distort workers’ conduct,” the CTC, Cuba’s official labor union, said in newspapers.

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