14ymedio, Pedro Espinosa/Juan Izquierdo, Havana, 21 January 2024 — The Cuban Electrical Union (UNE) needs operators, linemen, inspectors, economists, dispatchers and meter readers. However, attendees at Thursday’s job fair, sponsored by the state-owned enterprise in an effort to alleviate its worker shortage, were not met with promises of good salaries. Instead, they were greeted by a rusty sign over the gate to its operations center that read, “The Party is Immortal.”
The company’s Havana facilities, located on Independence Avenue in the Boyeros district, are well maintained. Several repair vehicles loaded with equipment and ladders are parked next to the main building. Also adjoining the premises is a training center for linemen where, on Thursday, several uniformed apprentices could be seen climbing poles and using training cables.
“All the state-owned companies are desperately looking for people because no one wants to work for them given how little they pay,” says one of the candidates for a lineman position.
All the state-owned companies are desperately looking for people because no one wants to work for them given how little they pay
Despite UNE’s need to increase staffing, company representatives at the fair did not go out of their way to tout the benefits of working for the company. Essential questions about the nature of the work were met with obfuscation, hemming and hawing, and “misdirection.” Shrugging her shoulders, the building’s receptionist apologized when asked about the pay. “I lost the salary schedule,” she replied.
After an expedited hiring process, the lineman positions — the best paid but also the most dangerous — were quickly filled. For those interested less risky positions, such as th