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    Indian Workers Earn “Three Or Four Times More” Than Cubans, According To The Official Press

    Indian Workers Earn “Three Or Four Times More” Than Cubans, According To
    The Official Press / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

    14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 17 October 2016 — Three months after the
    revelation of the presence of workers from India in the construction of
    a luxury hotel in Havana, on Saturday the Cuban press mentioned, and
    tried to explain, the fact that domestic workers have been replaced by
    foreign workers with the argument that the Asians perform “three or four
    times” better.

    “The result of their work is very high quality. Their presence results
    in taking great advantage of the workday, resulting in greater
    productivity,” said a report by the journalist Marianela Martin,
    published in Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) and reproduced on the
    website Cubadebate.

    What the Cuban newspaper does not mention is that, according to Reuters,
    the wages paid by the French company Bouygues to the Indian builders is
    some 1,600 dollars a month, 53 times more than Cubans doing the same
    work are paid (some 30 dollars). In the best of cases, with a bonus
    included, Cubans can earn a maximum of 100 dollars a month, with the
    Asians still earning 16 times more.

    As the main reason for the hiring of foreigners, the directors of the
    Almest Real Estate Company argue the mobility of people trained in Cuban
    schools, who seek better paid work.

    The publication notes, however, that “there is a permanent improvement”
    in the living conditions of the Cuban workers, among which it cites the
    constant assurance of work. Another “privilege” mentioned is
    “transportation from the shelters where they live to the worksite” and
    “the food offered is good, and so are the conditions where they spend
    the night.”

    It also mentions “a study for the application of a new payment system,”
    but clarifies that it will not be “wage reform.”

    Experts consulted by this newspaper corroborated that contracting for
    foreign personnel for tourist projects in Cuba is a common practice, but
    the case of the Indian workers is notable for the numbers involved. They
    are not only working in Havana, but also in the construction of several
    hotels in Varadero and other areas of the country.

    The civil engineer Bladimir Ayra Estrada, vice president of the Arcos
    BBI International Economic Partnership, involved in construction in
    Cuba, explains that “with the presence of workers from India in the
    projects, jobs that have been lost are being recovered.”

    According to Ayra Estrada, along with the Indian workers, Cubans are
    being put to work to learn the trades. The manager recognized that his
    business is taking fundamental advantage of recent graduates in
    technical courses related to construction, because they leave after
    finishing their social service (a three year period in which graduated
    students must work in the specialty in which they graduated).

    Electricians, carpenters, plumbers and masons working on Cuban hotels
    being built in tourist areas are usually hired through the 13 employment
    agencies in the country. These are state enterprises created to recruit
    the best of the skilled workers on the island. They hire workers for
    wages in Cuban pesos (CUP) and in some cases with bonuses in Cuban
    Convertible pesos (CUC: 1 CUC = 25 CUP) while offering their services to
    foreign companies, adjusting their prices in dollars. It is a business
    that allows the state to realize significant gains, as it gets most of
    the benefits*.

    The Cuban government is committed to promoting tourism as a way to boost
    its stagnant economy. Last year Cuba hosted more than three and a half
    million tourists, so it has had to make major adjustments and
    investments to balance the demand for rooms with supply.

    The Manzana hotel, where the largest contingent of Indians is working,
    is located in Manzana de Gómez, which was the first major commercial
    center of the Cuban capital. Completion is scheduled for early 2017 and
    the project will be operated by the Kempinski International Hotel Chain
    and the Business Administration Group (GAESA), which belongs to the
    Cuban Armed Forces.

    *Translator’s note: The State agencies collect the wages paid for the
    Cuban workers and pass on to the workers only a small share, retaining
    the rest in the government coffers.

    Source: Indian Workers Earn “Three Or Four Times More” Than Cubans,
    According To The Official Press / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating
    Cuba –
    translatingcuba.com/indian-workers-earn-three-or-four-times-more-than-cubans-14ymedio-mario-penton/

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