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Cuba to fire one million public sector workers

Now that’s austerity.

Workers repair shoes in the 'La Habanera' state-owned workshop in Havana, Cuba yseterday.
Workers repair shoes in the 'La Habanera' state-owned workshop in Havana, Cuba yseterday.
Image: Franklin Reyes/AP

CUBA HAS ANNOUNCED radical plans which will see it sack over a million public workers in an attempt to revive its struggling economy.

Half of the workers being laid off will be let go before March of next year, with the other half on more medium-term windings-down of their roles.

“Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls and losses that hurt the economy,” the country’s Labour Federation said in a statement.

The enormous cuts will see the government workforce downsized by over a fifth; about 85% of the country’s 5.1 million workers are employed in the public sector by the communist government.

The move will therefore see Cuba’s unemployment rate of 1.7% swell enormously, with many of the workers being laid off encouraged to become self-employed or to join new private enterprises.

The decision is also a symbolic shift from the communist state’s longstanding economic model, with the move being a definitive abandonment of Che Guevara’s “socialist man” ideal where workers were motivated by morality rather than material gain.

Fidel Castro had only last week made the frank admission that the native version of communism ‘didn’t even work for us’, let alone act as a model that the country could encourage other nations to take up.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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