HAVANA CLIMA

Labor exploitation

Cuba’s Labor Justice Bodies Don’t Really Protect Workers

HAVANA, Cuba. – One of the entities created by the Castro regime in its apparent advocacy of the interests of Cuban workers are the Labor Justice Bodies (OJL, by its Spanish acronym). In every state enterprise, they are the body-to-go-to in order to solve labor conflicts. They not only are charged with litigation generated by employers’ decisions, but they are apt, also, to solve discipline problems and violations of the labor code.
However, in practice, these OJLs seldom fulfill their duty. Since the idea was imposed from above and not from an initiative of workers themselves, their original sin is that they were ill-born due to the incompetence of many of its members. In the majority of labor centers, the most abled workers refuse to get involved with a mechanism they see as a mere formality.
According to the Labor Code, considered as the law of laws in labor matters, workers’ claims presented before the OJLs go forward only if the procedures agreed to in the Collective Labor Agreement appear to have been violated. So, what is the Collective Labor Agreement? According to the official discourse, it’s a document created as a result of collective bargaining between workers and administrators, through which labor relations ae regulated in each entity.
Well, reality indicates that the afore-mentioned formality makes the contents of these Collective Labor Agreements a dead letter. No such thing as “collective bargaining” exists. The agreement is often written by the administration, with the complicity of the company’s lawyer, and then it’s put away in a drawer and is taken out only if there is an inspection at the work center.
Therefore, if the step prior to appealing to the OJLs does not reflect the interests or concerns of workers due to the fact that they did not participate in the writing of said Agreements, then it’s clear to see that the OJLs serve no purpose at all to the workers.
A recent event that has received certain publicity and published in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, (on time for the sanction but not for the actual appeal) shows us the deficient conduct of one of these OJLs.
Last December 14th, a professor at the Faculty of Physical Culture of Granma University was the object of disciplinary action. Not happy with the sanction –a six-month transfer to a lower-paying teaching position- filed an appeal before the university’s OJL seven days later, on December 21st.
The Labor Code establishes that OJLs have 24 work days to reach a decision and notify the parties, the professor and the university administration in this case.
The OJL set a hearing for February 22, 2022, but it had to be called off on account that none of the members of the OJL showed up. A new hearing was scheduled for March 4th, and again, it had to be called off for the same reason.
The only option left to the professor was to go to the Municipal Attorney General’s office in late March. There, he was told that he must wait between 30 and 60 days to receive an answer to his appeal.
In other words, when he receives that answer, perhaps in May, the six months of the sanction will have elapsed. If he is found innocent, he still will have met the requirements of the administrative sanction, and suffered a loss of income.
This is but an example of what workers can expect from the Labor Justice Bodies, or OJLs.
ARTÍCULO DE OPINIÓNLas opiniones expresadas en este artículo son de exclusiva responsabilidad de quien las emite y no necesariamente representan la opinión de CubaNet.
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Official ILO Mission Ends without Any Complaints Being Filed against the Cuban Regime

MIAMI, United States. – The first mission to the island headed by Pedro Américo Furtado de Oliveira, Director of the Country Office for Mexico and Cuba of the International Labor Organization (ILO), ended on March 8th without any complaints filed for the violations of labor rights of millions of Cubans.
According to the note published by the ILO, the official mission lasted between February 28th and March 8th. During this period, Furtado de Oliveira held high-level dialogues with officials and representatives of the Cuban State, as well as with employer and workers organizations, as well as United Nations agencies in the country.
According to the reports, none of those meetings included independent labor union activists, for they are not acknowledged by the island’s regime but are under constant harassment by the authorities.
According to the ILO, “the objectives of the mission to Cuba were to promote and strengthen technical cooperation alliances that can generate decent jobs and a transition to a green and sustainable economy that is aligned with the National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES) and the Platform for Comprehensive Territorial Development (PADIT) programs and other initiatives for economic and social development in Cuba.”
At no point was reference made to the repression unleashed by the island’s regime after the historic demonstration of July 11th and 12th, 2021, which has targeted hundreds of workers in both the state and the private sectors.
However, Furtado de Oliveira met with authorities from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (aka CITMA) and Cuba’s Environmental Agency (AMA), and visited the residual water treatment plant in the community of San Matías, which is part of the “Life Task Plan”.
“The country is going through a process of transformation looking ahead to dealing with the economic and labor crisis that resulted from COVID-19, as well as the consequences of restrictions to international economic integration. From the ILO, we offer our support so that together we can build those transformative paths,” stated the ILO official.
Likewise, he stated that Cuba was a “profoundly social State” and described it as “a strong ally in generating decent and sustainable work.”
In this way, the mission to the island headed by ILO’s Director of the Country Office for Mexico and Cuba ended without ever hearing the complaints of independent sectors in the island, particularly those of Asociación de Sindicalistas Independientes Cubanos (ASIC, by its Spanish acronym) and its Secretary General, Iván Hernández Carrillo.
In late November 2021, the Cuban activist registered complaints about “deliberate acts of intimidation, arrest and police harassment” against independent labor activists called on to participate in a civic march last November 15th (15N).
Furtado de Oliveira also paid no attention to the statements by ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association, which has requested from the Cuban regime that it refrain from repressing independent labor activists and to guarantee the independent exercise of labor and union activities to all its citizens
“It is unacceptable that the international community tolerate the harassment and repression against independent labor activists. These acts cannot become normalized in the eyes of the world. The Cuban regime must be held accountable for these abuses,” has stated Hernández Carrillo about the complicity of international organizations.
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Cuban Government Denies Practice of Slavery with Its Doctors

MADRID, Spain. – The Cuban regime rejected its inclusion in the Trafficking in Persons report issued by the U.S. Department of State.
During a high-level meeting at the General Assembly about the evaluation of the United Nations Global Action Plan to fight the Trafficking in Persons, Cuba’s Minister of Justice, Oscar Silvera Martínez, called unacceptable that “without any basis whatsoever, the United States accuses Cuba of fomenting trafficking in persons, or the practice of slavery.”
Cuba’s inclusion “aims to denigrate the praiseworthy labor of hundreds of thousands of Cuban professional and technical medical personnel, who throughout decades and a deep vocation of solidarity and humanism, have given their volunteer services to assist the people of dozens of countries,” Silvera Martínez alleged.
However, the Cuban minister mentioned that “in Cuba, trafficking in persons is a rare occurrence.”
“A policy of zero tolerance has been implemented in the country, based on the pillars of prevention, confrontation and protection of victims,” the minister added in his virtual intervention.
The report again includes Cuba on grounds that it is not fully compliant with the minimum standards for eliminating the crime of trafficking.
“During the period covered by the report, Cuba exhibited an official policy or a governing pattern to the benefit of the State from programs where workers are exported under likely forced-labor conditions, particularly in its program of medical missions abroad,” the document states.
Cuban doctors are strictly watched once on medical mission. In addition, 75% of salaries paid by the serviced countries goes straight into the Cuban government coffers, according to reports by Cuban Prisoners Defenders (CPD).
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