Cuba has announced it will lay off more than a million state employees in a sweeping privatisation drive that will transform the island’s socialist economy.
Authorities said layoffs would begin immediately amid loosened controls on private enterprise which, it is hoped, will kickstart the private sector and create new jobs for former public workers.
The official Cuban labour federation, which made the announcement on Monday, said 500,000 jobs would go by March and eventually 1m would be cut in the biggest economic shakeup since the 1960s.
"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities, services and budgeted sectors with bloated payrolls [and] losses that hurt the economy," the union, which has 3 million members, said in a statement.
"Job options will be increased and broadened with new forms of non-state employment, among them leasing land, co-operatives and self-employment, absorbing hundreds of thousands of workers in the coming years," it said. President Raúl Castro has repeatedly warned that change was coming but the scale of the cuts caught observers by surprise.
- Tuesday 14 September 2010