New job opportunities in Cuba range from rabbits to bricks

communist leaders have already determined what they want soon-to-be-dismissed
workers to do after they get their pink slips in massive government layoffs,
detailing a plan for them to raise rabbits, paint buildings, make bricks,
collect garbage and pilot ferries across Havana’s bay.

plans, along with a timetable for which government sectors will get the axe
first, are laid out in an internal Communist Party document.

 Earlier this week Cuban officials announced
plans to cut 500,000 state workers by March 2011 and help them get work in the
private sector, in the most sweeping reforms instituted since President Raul
Castro took over from his brother in 2008.

of those to be let go will be urged to form private cooperatives. Others will
be pushed into jobs at foreign-run companies and joint ventures. Still more
will need to set up their own small business — particularly in the areas of
transport and house rental — according to an internal Communist Party document.

26-page document — which is dated 24 August and laid out like a PowerPoint
presentation with bullet points and large headlines — explains what to look
for when deciding whom to lay off. Those whose pay is not in line with their
low productivity and those who lack discipline or are not interested in work
will go first. It says that some dismissed workers should be offered alternative
jobs within the public sector.

document hints at higher wages for the best workers, but says, “It is not
possible to reform salaries in the current situation.”

document says workers at the ministries of sugar, public health, tourism and
agriculture will be let go first, with layoffs having already begun in July.
The last in line for cutbacks include Cuba’s Civil Aviation, and the ministries
of foreign relations and social services.

outline includes a long list of “ideas for cooperatives” including
raising animals and growing vegetables, construction jobs, driving a taxi and
repairing automobiles — even making sweets and dried fruit.

it warns that one of the main challenges the country will face is that many of
the fledgling businesses won’t get off the ground.

lists the main problems for newly laid off workers seeking to make it on their
own as a lack of experience, insufficient skill level and low initiative.

of them could fail within a year,” the document says.


Women wait for customers at their licensed food outlet in Havana Tuesday.
Photo: Reuters

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