Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Castro Statement

FL011415 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0000 GMT 1 Dec 86

[Statements by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the 30 November session of
the Third Congress of Cuba's Communist Party, being held at Havana's Palace
of Conventions -- recorded]

[Excerpts] [Castro] Could anybody here explain to this congress what has
caused the chaos and tremendous anarchy in connection with this problem of
norms and wages? Who is going to try to explain it? Panchito, stay there.
Let us discuss this a little bit if someone explains the reason for these

[Delegate from Santiago de Cuba construction sector] Commander, we have
been working in the construction sector 40 years uninterruptedly. [passage
omitted deals with his sector's efforts; that he feels workers are being
paid to perform with quality; that there should be no premium payment for
quality; that Santiago de Cuba's construction workers are determined to
eliminate lost time and work more; that everybody should face up to this
struggle, which is bigger now; that a solution must be found to payment of
chronic sick days because in the old days -- capitalist system -- workers
had a maximum number of sick days a year]

[Castro] You have said twice that you will work hard to achieve a
90-percent fulfillment rate of the workday in the construction sector. Do
you possibly remember or have information on the fulfillment rate of the
workday during the days of the capitalist system?

[Delegate] In the days of capitalism we had to achieve high fulfillment
rate or else we would be fired.

[Castro] What is the current fulfillment rate in the construction sector?

[Delegate] Commander, it is low. I do not believe it is higher than 75 or
76 percent. It is low.

[Castro] Not everybody reaches the 75 percent.

[Delegate interrupts to correct his figures to 85 percent.]

In the days of capitalism they talked about 85 percent. They appeared to be
very knowledgeable. They had already raised the level, and adopted a number
of measures, such as having one man bringing the snacks to the rest at
their work stations. In other words, the disorder caused by having each man
get his snack was eliminated. I know of a case of a construction site where
everybody would abandon his work station and walk downstairs to a certain
location to get their snacks. In that site [nuclear power plant] the
workers have to meet a lot of requirements because every so often the work
has to be evaluated, no one can play with the quality there, be it the
concrete, welding, everything.

They talked about 85-percent rate. It would be good to base statistics on
previous rates. Some of these norms are totally new because they deal with
new types of production, new equipment, but there must be other records
from the days of capitalism.

It would be good to compare with the starting point for those norms. It
would be a good comparison with the productivity or work norms during
capitalism generally, all that has been incredibly distorted.

Panchito reports that we have 20,000 persons setting norms throughout the
country. That covers how many workers?

[Someone responds: 3,154,000] I am referring to the number of workers. I
mean the work centers where those norms are applied. (delegate says he has
the information but has to look for it] Could it be 1.2 million? You mean
to tell me we have nearly two persons setting norms for every 100. What
have they done? In the report you sent this was mentioned, that many of
these persons setting norms are being used for something else, in addition
to their regular duties. A universal disorder has been created with this
thing of norms and wages. There is an infinite number of norms, at least an
infinite number of different situations. In sum, each person can do as he
or she pleases in this matter.

There was a time when there was discipline in matters dealing with wages,
but then came the chaos. We have not known how to handle this situation. We
now have chaos in our hands. Party members are now struggling against that
chaos at the grass roots level. During all the municipal and provincial
assembly meetings these things were examined.

What the comrade from Santiago de Cuba said is a great truth. They have
tried to buy out the workers. They have tried to solve all the problems by
throwing money at them. Everything has become an excuse for giving money. I
say this is one of the more serious problems we now have. In reality, it is
easy to give money. It is easy to create all these perverse habits in the
production area. What is difficult is to correct the wrongs; what is
difficult is to eliminate them. There must be a large number of demagogues
running around out there, many opportunists, or many irresponsible people,
many unconcerned, as he called them, or many so-called populists, or many
father figures in order for this tremendous chaos to be created, as they
have done in many areas. It can be said that each of these mechanisms have
degenerated. The norms have degenerated. The premium payments have
degenerated. Everything has degenerated.

Why? Why that trend? How can we build socialism in that manner! This is one
of the more serious problems facing the country. One of more serious
problems facing the party, one of the more difficult battles. That is why
the comrade was given such prolonged applause, because he put his finger on
the sore, which is not caring for what happens, trying to solve everything
with money, and the lack of courage to face up to the problems. There is a
lot of information here from the municipalities outlining what has been
done by the chiefs of brigades. They were way above the norm; it was a lot,
excessive. What was done is it was redistributed among the days of the
week, days when there was no work performed. Can you imagine the cheating
involved? Others applied all types of premium payments, premium payments
which were inadequate, obsolete. What is going on, what is seen happening
in this and other things is incredible. What is going on with respect to
norms and wages is a battle for the revolution. Not everybody understands.
It is not easy as you listen to some who claim that money is not given to
them because we do not want to give them money. The problem is that no more
money is given because there is none to give.

Why continue to give money which does not correspond with the production?
Why continue to deceive the people? There is a lack of knowledge. Perhaps
when ideology is discussed, this topic will also be taken up because this
is ideology. Many people do not understand that the socialist state, any
state, any system cannot give what it does not have. Much less it will have
it if there is no production, if money is given without productive support.

I am sure that the inflated payrolls, excessive sums of money given to the
people, idle inventories, the waste...there has to be a lot of that with
the large number of unprofitable enterprises we have throughout the
country. They continue to be unprofitable despite the fact that prices have
been raised.

We are here today to discuss all problems. A comrade of the people's
government raised the problem of payrolls. That is one of the more infernal
vices we are enduring because of a number of reasons, be it unconcerned
people, father figure attitude, favoritism, and sometimes even cronyism.
With the free enterprise, some of these vices have proliferated. Also have
been caused by erroneous concepts that have been implemented. Perhaps, this
has come from the top, dressing all enterprises the same way, the same
payroll as if they all were exactly the same.

Recently, when it was decided to create the municipal agriculture offices
to take care of the peasant sector, the cooperatives, one thing that was
discussed extensively with the comrades in the agriculture ministry was,
first of all, if there was a need for that type of office in all
municipalities. There were places where everything was sugarcane and there
was no need for such an office. We discussed whether the same number of
office personnel was needed in all municipalities. Agreement was reached
that some municipalities have agricultural importance, a lot of land being
exploited, d others have practically none. There was no need for assigning
the same number of office personnel in places where there is no agriculture
than in places where there is a lot. It was decided to assign the personnel
according to each municipality's need. This is an old ill. It must have
started during the days of capitalism when there was a desire for the
bureaucratic positions. There must have been quite a bit of social
pressures in that direction. This is a problem which cannot be approached
the same way everytime.

There is never the same situation in different regions of the country.
There is not the same urgency to take care of these problems in locations
where manpower is scarce, contrary to those locations where there is a
surplus of manpower. It is more urgent in some places than in others.

For example, in the discussions held in the municipalities, the point of
excessive payrolls was raised. It was discovered that there were excessive
payrolls. No, nobody has discovered an excessive payroll. The day someone
discovers excessive payrolls, it will be noted that 70 percent in many
offices is not needed, for whatever reasons. We have invented the official
statistic's of one type or another. All that has been created.

But you cannot imagine how many people are not needed. Many times I have
tried to figure out these mysteries of the qualifier of charges. That post
invented especially for one in an who cannot fulfill 8 hours of work
according to his job description. There must be a large number of factors
affecting that.

The statistics, the qualifiers, the inventions brought up here; inventions
of all kinds; all types of vices that have been introduced. If we do not
raise the awareness and eradicate them, then we will not be able
socialism. But, there is no way of knowing how many people are not needed.

I have an example in the international film school. Many foreigners are
trained there, many of whom are professionals. While there, I said let us
discuss the payroll. How is the payroll going to be. We had some experience
from the new genetics engineering and biotechnology center, the description
of each position to achieve productivity.

There they have three men cooking for more than 300 persons. It will have
four, but the number of persons eating at the center will also increase.
The center cooks for two or three places and also for a hotel lodging the
students. How many people were planned for that kitchen? The plan called
for 60 persons. The center would have had more people in the kitchen than
eating, or in the school. Well, they said: `a,' `b,' `c.' One was dining
room 'a' calls for so many. Well, I believe there are four there, not 60.
As it was done in the genetics engineering center, it was agreed to have
irregular schedules, multiskills. Probably there are 60 workers in the
entire center. It had been planned that the kitchen be assigned 60 persons,
that they were needed. who was the nut that made those plans and job

In this manner, all the service centers have been filled with people this
way. That is why I say the party has not yet figured out the number of
people not needed, above all, in many service centers and offices. I will
not say in the factories. What would be painful is to have a lack of people
to cultivate vegetables, coffee, cacao, to produce what is fundamental for
the country, even painful. In the provinces and municipalities where a
census taken of the people not studying or working, young people, a large
percentage, rejected the call for joining productive tasks such as
construction. If the builders would build as they should, there would be
many in the sector that are not needed. Those young people refused to go to
do construction work as if it were dishonorable. They want anything that
would not imply sweating, nothing systematic, no responsible work. There is
work but they do not accept what is there. There is work in some sectors.
They are not studying or working, and only a small percentage would accept
the job that is offered.

I say that we do not have a clear response for those comrades struggling
against excessive payrolls in the municipalities. Frankly, I do not believe
we should solve the problem by leaving people without jobs. I do not
believe this is the solution. I believe we should have an inventory of
those who are not needed. The comrades from the State Committee for Labor
and Social Security explained to me that 10,000 were not needed in public
health -- 10,000 workers in public health. I do not know if that was in
Havana City alone. Benavides, was that in Havana City only? That is a
hypothesis, that 100,000 are not needed? I work would be done as it should
be and organized as in the centers I referred to, many more would not be

Since they took inventory of those not needed, we say that they are
experienced workers and their experience should not be lost. We cannot send
them home. But if a new hospital is opened, the Julio Trelles, next year
with 500 beds -- many of those working in other hospitals have worked there
and live close by -- I propose that the payroll should be rationalized at
the same rate the beds are increased, at the same rate the services are

When, the personnel should be transferred to the new hospital from others
where they are not needed. I believe that we should have clear in our minds
the inventory of those not needed, so that when we open a new center those
not needed can be transferred. But, above all, a new school, a new factory,
nothing, no new enterprise should be opened with these old vices. That is,
let us not repeat, let us not continue to multiply the problem to the
degree that we gain awareness and know the number of those not needed so
that we will not have to fire them.

In some places like Santiago de Cuba or Granma, where there are more
surplus personnel, it would create an additional problem. What we have to
do is carry an inventory of the public health people not needed in
Santiago. There are not a lot in Santiago because apparently there the
surplus personnel has put a pressure on creating new jobs, and they now
have more jobs in the eastern provinces. Other provinces have fewer because
they have the problem of scarcity of manpower. Those people should be
carried in inventories, not fire them now. I believe that is the prudent
thing to do.

We have to gain awareness in this problem and begin applying this policy in
the new centers. It would be good that each province had at least a small
pilot plan of the way to organize work with the multiskill and irregular
schedule system. There are several centers doing that already. They are
growing more and more, above all the new centers. Using the multiskill,
gentlemen, we can avoid that this thing degenerate.

I have seen somewhere an information about an irrigation project that could
be done with three men, but because it showed six men in that payroll, the
three would be paid the wages of the six. It could be that there is a
misunderstanding about multiskills, in other words collecting another
salary for doing different things. We have to be very careful. Gentlemen, I
repeat, everything has degenerated.

The problems of the workers whose skills were no longer being used but
remained on the payrolls [interruptos] was created because of the tobacco
blue mold, which practically put an end to tobacco production. The
factories had to be closed. There is where the problem emerged and, later
on, became regulated. How much has this been abused! A comrade from
Santiago explained how much this has been abused. The problem of the
interruptos and many problems of this type have given the opening to talk
about the payroll and give guidelines. Many comrades are probably waiting
for responses on this.

This is the first time in the history of the revolution that the party
discovers that there are workers who are.not needed, because to date the
party did not know this was going on in many work centers. The party
militants did not know this; that is the truth. That is a new awareness as
many others we are gaining in this process. I have always said there is
nothing worse than underutilizing human resources. There are many things
that can be done. It should be the revolution's task to seek new sources of
production and services in order to use the personnel. That is the duty of
the socialist state. But, the worst of all formulas is to inflate payrolls,
because it degenerates people, corrupts people. It teaches them not to
work. It teaches them how to do with three what one man can do.

Gentlemen, I believe that just as the most shameful thing for any man is to
be called lazy, the most shameful thing for any people is to become a
nation of lazy people. I believe the thing that makes any man proud is to
be called a hardworking man. Millions of people on earth have no other
wealth than that: to be called a good worker, a hardworking man. I believe
the thing that would make our revolution and people proud would be to
develop a nation of workers. Socialism cannot be conceived without that.
[prolonged applause]

Socialism cannot be conceived without that. We would be deceiving ourselves
if we would not adopt this program. As the Bible says, this is Godsend,
everything we have talked about, everything we proposed to do. Where could
it come from? Is anybody going to give it to us? Or, should we wait for
somebody to give it to us? Or, should we be the ones capable of creating
our needs? Can we create it without labor discipline in the midst of chaos,
anarchy, without working, with unconcernedness? No, we will never get it
that way. That is why I believe this is the time to discuss these problems,
and we should devote most of the time of this delayed session of the
congress for the party platform to examine these problems in our
discussions. That is precisely part of the rectification process. If we do
not rectify, if we do not radically overcome those vices, we will never be
able to fulfill this or any other program.

Machadito, that is why I feel we can get great results in these discussions
if the comrades come to the point and speak out. The comrades of the
municipalities should speak out here. I believe many of the party
secretaries are delegates to the congress. There must also be comrades from
the provinces, officials at different levels. They should enlighten us on
the problems we have, ideas on how to combat them. They should tell us
about the problems they are facing, what they are doing, how they are
struggling and, above all, they should explain to us the causes of the
problems, inasmuch as we have to combat the causes of these problems.