Saturday, 18 September 2010

Workers' rights in Cuba

The Cuban authorities only recognise a single national trade union
centre, the Confederación de Trabajadores Cubanos (CTC), heavily
controlled by the State and the Communist Party which appoints its
leaders. Membership is compulsory for all workers. Before a worker can
be hired they have to sign a contract in which they promise to support
the Communist Party and all its representatives. The government explicitly
prohibits independent trade unions.

There still is no freedom of association and the right to strike is
still not recognised in law. Six of the seven independent trade union
leaders sentenced to lengthy terms in 2003 remained in prison.

Workers who initiate cat strikes have been sentenced to up to seven
years in prison. The Cuban government is ferocious in its repression on
grassroots movements and independant (non government sanctioned) unions.

Violations of unions' rights are well-documented, you can find a
depressing list of all the crackdowns by the cuban authorities on
workplace organizing at numerous websites. See for example the 
UNHCR 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Cuba
Now for some sarcasm directed at those that maintain that "we must defend the Cuban
Revolution in the face of US Imperialism".
Of course, their answer is that we must understand that the Cuban government has no other
option but to violently supress strikes : it's just one of the prices to
pay in order to resist US imperialism. Those advocating the right to
strike are just silly Utopians with no understanding of the historical
circumstances.  Given the historical development of Cuba, strikes are
counter-revolutionary. Things are what they are because things are what
they are.Class antagonism cannot take the form of strikes in Cuba
because class antagonism is in the process of disappearing in Cuba,
because Cuba is led by Socialists because everybody says so. 
Again, things are what they are because things are what they
are. QED.

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