Cuba to lay off 500,000 in six months

Sept. 13, 2010 at 5:01 PM
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HAVANA, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Cuban officials said they would lay off 500,000 state workers in the next six months and allow more private sector jobs to help the country's economy.

The plan announced on state media confirmed President Raul Castro was acting on his recent pledge to shed about a million state jobs, only in a shorter timeframe than initially thought, CNN reported.

"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities and services with inflated payrolls and losses that damage our economy and result (in counter-productivity), create bad habits and distort workers' conduct," CTC, Cuba's official labor union, said.

Castro announced the layoffs in August, but said they would take place over five years. At the time, he said the actions would "broaden the exercise of self-employment and its use as another alternative for the employment of those excess workers,"

The state controls more than 90 percent of the economy, operating diverse businesses such as ice cream parlors, scientific labs and shoe repair shops, CNN said.

Details about which public-sector entities would suffer layoffs or which non-government enterprises would be allowed to grow were not revealed during the broadcast.

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