trabajadores prodal, croquetas, salchichas, pesca

Who supports Cuban workers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19?

HAVANA, Cuba.- In its April 6 edition, the newspaper Rebel Youth publishes the complaint of a reader from the city of Manzanillo, in the province of Granma, about a decision made by the directors of the Dairy Products Company of that territory, which has no precedent anywhere else in the Cuban geography.

The reader in question raises that, for a few weeks, those who have not been vaccinated or have not completed the vaccination cycle against COVID-19 have been suspended from their workplaces. They are given a period of 72 hours to be vaccinated, after which they are expelled from their workplace if they have not been vaccinated. During those 72 hours, they cannot go to work ─if they do, they are fined up to 2,000 pesos─, and these absences are considered unjustified, and for that reason without salary.

It is an administrative decision that keeps the workers of that workplace stunned, who have tried to seek advice from experts in labor matters seeking an explanation for an action they consider arbitrary, but so far no one has been able ─or has not wanted─ provide an answer about it.

The Manzanillo Municipal Prosecutor’s Office, for its part, claims to be unaware of that administrative decision of the Dairy Products Company, but has also done nothing to reverse a situation that aggravates the existence of a group of workers who depend on their salary in that entity to maintain to their families.

In one of the paragraphs of her complaint, the aforementioned reader points out that “the mechanisms or institutions to defend the rights of workers have done absolutely nothing. No one has been able to give a clear and coherent answer as to why this measure was applied in Manzanillo, when at the national level it has not been the case”.

Of course, the reader is implicitly referring to official trade unionism, which in theory is there to take care of defending the cause of the workers in the face of arbitrary measures like this by the administration, but which once again proves to be a mere figurehead of administrative outrages .

The complaint also alludes to the Constitution of the Republic, in this case to highlight the right to work that assists every Cuban. Indeed, Article 64 of the current Magna Carta establishes that “the right to work is recognized. The person in condition to work has the right to obtain a decent job, in correspondence with his choice, qualification, aptitude and demands of the economy and society”.

However, we know that in this way the claimants cannot obtain much, since there are plenty of examples of the many Cubans who have been deprived of their jobs by the Castro authorities, especially those who do not share the official ideology.

Ultimately, this labor anomaly that occurs in a state entity in the city of Manzanillo constitutes a test to calibrate recent statements by the first secretary of the Communist Party in the province of Granma, Yanaisi Capó Nápoles. The official expressed that “this is a responsibility that puts you in front of the people, with their problems and expectations, so it is necessary, above all, to assume it with rigor and sensitivity.” (“The daily challenge of beating together with the people”, newspaper GranmaApril 7 edition).

It is now time to check whether Mrs. Capó Nápoles is sensitive to a problem on which the present and future of many workers in her province depend.

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