Friday, October 17, 2008

New Wage Policy by 2009

Same wage for all setup abandoned by Cuba

Cuba is pushing state-run companies to adopt new wage policies by 2009 that would allow workers and managers to earn as much as they can, local media said Thursday, as President Raul Castro seeks to improve economic performance.

The labour ministry, in conjunction with Castro's closest military economic advisers, issued instructions to managers this week on how to design the new system. He ordered it be fully discussed with workers and ready by December, after they failed to meet an August deadline, said Ariel Terrero, Cuba's most popular economic commentator.

There is little difference in wage scales set by central planners so someone who does little earns almost as much as someone who works hard, including managers.

The plan would replace the current across-the-board egalitarian system with one based on piece work and concrete conditions in each workplace.

Cubans make an average salary of about $17 per month but they receive subsidized food and utilities, transportation, health, education and, in some cases, collective bonuses. The Cuban state controls more than 90 per cent of the economy.

"The goal is to put an end once and for all to these egalitarian concepts that are so damaging for the economy and socialism and that have done more harm than good during these years," Terrero said.

© The Calgary Herald 2008

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