Cuba to axe one million state jobs

HAVANA, September 14, 2010 (AFP) – Cuba has announced plans to slash one million state jobs and encourage the growth of its emerging small business sector in a gamble it hopes can keep its communist system and floundering economy afloat. Workers laid off from government jobs will no longer be sent home with partial pay, but will instead have to find other means to make a living, the Cuban Worker’s Central, or CTC by its Spanish acronym, warned on Monday.

It said more than 500,000 public sector jobs will be eliminated, in a first major cut, by March 2011.

“Our state neither can nor should continue maintaining companies… with inflated payrolls, and losses that are a drag on the economy, are counterproductive, generate bad habits and deform workers’ performance,” the CTC said.

President Raul Castro said in 2009 the government wanted to relocate more than a million state employees, sending shockwaves through a society which has grown accustomed to stable levels of employment over the last 50 years.

Cuba has a workforce of 4.9 million people in a country with 11.2 million population. The state controls 95 percent of the economy.

For years, the government has given laid off workers up to 60 percent of their salary wh