Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Discusses Organization, Productivity

FL132150 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0200 GMT 5 Feb 87

[Remarks by President Fidel Castro at annual meeting of directors of the
Basic Industry Ministry, MINBAS, held on 30 January in Havana, with the
participation of Basic Industry Minister Marcos Portal and Nickel Union
Director Humberto Peguero - recorded]

[Text] [Portal] We meet once a year with all the directors. We try to
foment cooperation among the various branches, factories, and so on, so
that the ministry can have a clear and precise picture of the problems we
have in the principal tasks.

[Castro] How many people on the Che Guevara roster?

[Peguero] We had 5,400 and reduced this number by about 700. We are now
discussing the 1987 staffing, for which we are using not only the
administrative discussion method, but we are also discussing the
organization of the factory. We then discuss departmental staffing with the
participation of the trade union sections and the (?party) nucleus.

[Castro] How much do you think staffing will go down?

[Peguero] It will go down 4.8 or 4.9 [as heard].

[Castro] How many does the Nicaro plant have?

[Peguero] Nicaro has 4,500.

[Castro] Each worker there means a tremendous investment.

[Peguero] That's true, that's true.

[Castro] The more workers you have the more difficult to give those workers
optimal material conditions.

[Peguero] In this rectification process, Commander, we went down 2,269
positions to the [words indistinct]. There were 537 filled positions.

[Castro] Two thousand from where?

[Peguero] From all enterprises and budgeted units of the nickel union.

[Castro] Which are they?

[Peguero] Well, Nicaro, Pedro Soto Alvarez, the [word indistinct]
construction enterprise, the mechanical complex, Che Guevara, and

[Castro] So you have reduced the staff.

[Peguero] The staff and we are engaged in another reduction.

[Castro] Staffing or physical?

[Peguero] In regards to the physical, it was 537 in the first stage, then
there were 54 more. Using this method we discussed last week with the
participation of the party and the province, in giving participation...

[Castro, interrupting] What are those 1,000-odd workers you have there? How
many do you have physically there in the plant?

[Peguero] At the Che Guevara?

[Castro] Yes.

[Peguero] I have 4,500 and we are...

[Castro, interrupting] What are they doing?

[Peguero] Operating machinery, providing maintenance.

[Castro] They might be giving maintenance but they are not operating. It's
not working.

[Peguero] Oh yes, Commander, the mine is operating.

[Portal] Is there ammonia in the system? Minerals in the system? Are the
lines pressurized? Is there steam, electricity?

[Peguero] There are 4,500 tons...

[Portal, interrupting] Are there shifts around the clock and all?

[Peguero] It is a plant in full production, with 4,500 tons of ammonia in
the system. It is short only 69 tons of nickel to fulfill the nickel
inventory in the processing system. We will reach this goal around 20
February. From then on, everything will go for production.

[Portal] Now, Peguero, I believe that we [changes thought] we must be
aware, commander, that having Camarioca next door, the nickel can be
organized the way you want it in the plant. This in regard to staffing.
There is no political trauma there, because the staffing I reduce here...

[Castro, interrupting] You take over there.

[Portal] I take over there. I believe that the nickel miner's response,
which we have to [word indistinct] with you, is that we have to set an
example in the organization of the nickel industry. This because of the
cost, the economic implications, and, besides, because we can accomplish it
without any political problem. That is what they are working on. The
staffing we have decided... [changes thought] they spent several months
gaining expertise in some countries. The best of them reached the
conclusion that the organization -- the nickel union, which is going to
lead 25,000 workers -- must be headquartered at the Pedro Soto Alvarez. The
rest... [changes thought] there are many activities that are duplicative.
For instance, training set-ups in every enterprise, economic set-ups in
each enterprise, commercial set-ups in each enterprise. So we can work
toward a form of optimal organization. The services can... [changes
thought] hundreds and hundreds of workers less need be used in the concept
of investment. They are working for an answer in that direction this year.

The fact that the union is located in a factory is a decision that is more
political than economic, because it implies that the leaders of that
organization can be found in one factory, that they share the cafeterias
with the workers. That is the experience we have had elsewhere.

[Castro] How is the CEMA-1 factory doing?

[Peguero] In the CEMA-1, we are still working on the rationalization that
we talked to you about. We finished the technical analysis. We turned it
over to the comrades in construction, to [words indistinct] so they can
make the construction analysis...

[Castro, interrupting] How is building coming along there?

[Peguero] Well, we are building well, with a small plan, but well.

[Castro] Is the small plan determined by the budget or by the construction
capacity of the enterprise?

[Peguero] By the supplies for the construction capacity the Ministry of
Construction has there.

[Castro] Did they build the 1,200 houses this year, or rather 1986?

[Peguero] No, they did not.

[Castro] How many did they build?

[Peguero] Some 900... [corrected by someone in audience] 1,022.

[Castro] How are you distributing that housing?

[Peguero] Well, among all the municipality's organs, factors. The nickel
union, public health, education.

[Portal] Commander, it was established in principle that approximately 85
or 90 percent would be used in investment, production. In any case, in
certain years, the number of doctors, teachers, some other specialties, the
provincial party leaders, Comrade Cano in particular, the comrades in the

[Castro, interrupting] This year you plan 900 houses, isn't that right?

[Peguero] This year, 900. Now commander, in regard to rationalization, the
final numbers show that to produce the first nickel in Camarioca, we need
to process 51 percent of the concrete processed in the Che Guevara plant.
We must put up 74 percent of the metal structures put up at Che Guevara,
and 77 percent of the technological equipment. In other words, the course
we have chosen is correct.

[Castro] By lines?

[Peguero] Yes, by lines, in order to finish the first line. Of course, it
is a great advantage. In Camarioca the project achieves a first start-up
line. That was not the case in the Che Guevara, which was completed first
and then started operations. I would like to take this opportunity to tell
you that our colleagues' visit to the biotechnical center...

[Castro, interrupting] When did you go there?

[Peguero] In November last year. In terms of the structural analysis, that
is what we are explaining at the new research center. Results show that
taking advantage of the fact that it is 100 meters from the Che Guevara and
that there are a series of services that it does not necessarily have, we
are going to have better levels than the biotechnical plant, in terms of
people engaged in research...

[Castro, interrupting] No, no, not better. [laughter] Even if they cook

[Peguero] And repair elsewhere, maintaining Che Guevara with its workers.

[Castro] Would that it were so.

[Peguero] No, no.

[Castro] Would that you produced as much or more. That would be a
tremendous success.

[Peguero] Using our conditions to advantage.

[Castro] I visited a fishing research center yesterday. It is there in
front of Cojima. I saw a plant under construction. That worried me, because
I told myself, this is not expanding correctly, there must be no order in
what they are doing here. Here is a big area of land that one day might be
used for something and here's this center in the middle, building things. I
saw a bunch of boxes scattered outside. The center has a fish laboratory.
It is in Habana del Este. I asked them how many workers they had. They had
20 in the shop making croquettes, meat patties, sausages, all kinds of
things made of fish. It was supposed to be a research center. The
laboratory has 71 people. The whole center has 191. I said to myself 20
here 71 over there, where are the other 100? They are administrative staff.
One hundred seventy-one [as heard]. They were going to merge research and
development and I believe that all together they add up to over 500.

There was a rather bright young man there. He was all alone with all those
things. And you wonder, well, is there any physical planning here? He
doesn't know. Someone gave him the go ahead. I ask, do you have a permit to
build that plant? And he said, yes. Do you have money? No, because a
brigade was building this. It was not budgeted for this year. I have all
this equipment to install. What are you going to do there? A prototype
plant. Who for? He said, oh, for ourselves, for this center [chuckles] this
research center. I ask him: What about that big building? No, we are going
to turn it into a furniture factory. What for? Well, to build flatheds. You
are building a factory to...[changes thought] and the rest? A warehouse.

We are so used to wasting money and resources, that it is incredible. They
say that with a building costing 4 million, they would have 350 people.
Merging it all. They now go here, where there is a school, near where the
Hemingway thing is, over in that place [people tell him the name of place]
Barlovento. Between the two they have over [Unreadable text]. The research
center next to the biotechnical center had a staff of 1,400. Physically
there, 1,200. It now has 800 in this battle. Because we want to merge the
two centers. The single center, the one you visited, would have had 2,000
workers with the parameters then existing here. Now it will have between
350 and 400. If we bring together four centers, the old one, the new one,
and two small new ones, the total staff will be less than the individual
one had.

But I believe that this phenomenon of ours is universal. Only, for many
years there was no awareness of the problem. I referred to that problem
hundreds of times, but I had not known a single person -- listen to what I
am saying -- a single person who was aware of the problem. Fortunately,
today there are many people who are beginning to be aware of the problem.
We must be aware of the problem not to cause chaos, because if we
rationalize here, we will have a chaos. Or else we have to send 500,000
home. If not 500,000, it would be 300,000 or 350,000 or 400,000. So we
cannot simply say that we know how to organize a factory. This will take 5
or 10 years at least. I don't know.

And using that work force...[changes thought] for example, the microbrigade
is a marvelous thing, because it could allow us to rationalize 50,000 or
60,000. And I warn you that we are going to do it in such a way that it
will not clash with factory efficiency and profitability. That is why we
brought up at the central group meeting the idea that the factory pay the
member of the microbrigade. The microbrigade remains associated with the

The state will reimburse to each factory the money that it paid for the
microbrigades. This way we link the factory's interest with the
microbrigades and rationalization.

Of course, the factories are interested, because they build for them and
solve many social problems. But the interest is much greater when the
factory knows that if it has a surplus of 100, it can send them to the
microbrigades. Then, the state will pay it back for the salary of the 100.
It rationalizes the surplus.

I am not talking about extra work, because it is a joke to talk about extra
work. But if one day there were need for extra work, for the workers to
work 15 or 20 minutes more, we would uphold the principle that the state
reimburse the wages paid by the factory, thus making extra work an element
assisting efficiency, profitability, costs of the factory. That is how we
are going to do this. There you have a fast, almost immediate vehicle for
the rationalization of scores of thousands, creating wealth. I estimate
that 50,000 rationalized people should produce 500 million pesos in
construction, if we achieve a productivity of around 1,000 pesos per month
in construction. This shows that the recification is not simply a political
or ideological thing, it is highly economic. I feel that in a 5-year period
we can get billions of pesos from rectification.

A good example is that. I am certain that reducing 50,000 overall, from all
factories will not affect production in the least. Production will be
helped. Then the habit will be created utilizing the work force, the
resources, the organization well. That is a big immediate resource.
However, if we were truly going to rationalize in the country it would be
hundreds of thousands of surplus workers. Because all of this has brought
excesses, indiscipline, chit-chat, disorganization, the lack of work
habits, not making good use of time. I would like to know what happens in
many places here. I don't say in all, because I have seen shops in which
people make a big effort. What would be the result of a comparison of our
productivity per worker with that of the rest of the world? What would the
level be in a similar factory?

Of course, the machines have helped us a great deal. Good thing, the
machines. The machines have made up for a lot of the unproductivity.
Because when you have a sugar canecutter that can cut 8,000 arrobas, it is
doing the work of 40 men. When you have a 300-horsepower bulldozer, when
you have cranes in the ports, or you have bulk sugar. But we don't know
what resources our country could have if it correctly utilized its labor
force. That is why I am glad, I am glad; I did not know that you were also
engaged in that battle. You have a mechanical plant, a huge center. This
should not be only yours, it should be also the people's government's. Did
the comrade from the Moa people's government come? Wasn't he invited?
[murmurs of "no,no"] You should also do it for the hospital as well, in all
the centers, because there are a lot of centers there, not only of
production but also of services. They should have the same criteria,
because there are no people in Moa, and each family taken there means a
house and more services of all kinds. It is really worthwhile to
rationalize a great deal there. And living conditions will be better in
that factory. Food conditions will improve in that factory. It can be done.
It is not the same doing it with 10,000 as with 20,000. It is not the same.
The material conditions of workers can be greatly improved. That is why it
makes me happy to hear about your concern for the plant to make it better.

I believe that the country can give employment to everybody. I am convinced
of that. With a little imagination. Give them employment. We don't have to
have unemployment. In other words, I believe that we can utilize our human
resources in a rational way and, in addition, employ everybody. The thing
is that it is so much easier to create those vices, and to have double or
triple the number of workers needed in a center. So I am going to tell the
people in genetics engineering that you are going to have a center that is
more efficient than theirs. [laughter] You are going to have to work 17
hours, because they are working 14 and 15.

[Peguero] They are dedicated.