Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Pandemic, tourism and employment

Tamara Caridad Mesa González 24 febrero, 2021

The closure of the leisure activity operations in March last year led to the unemployment of more than 15 thousand workers in the tourism sector in Matanzas, a global phenomenon determined by the effects of Covid-19 and its negative impact on one of the engines keys to the world economy.

Almost a year after the prolonged health crisis, a very high percentage is still out of their legitimate job position, the same has found an answer in relocation, a smaller group, especially women, continues to be protected by social assistance, and another small segment disdained the benefits. offers and therefore may have permanently lost their employment link.

In any of the cases, Covid-19 demobilized a large labor population, with high qualifications and professional competence, now dispersed in dissimilar sectors of production and services, and this is good because they contribute to the country in times when the pandemic the economy and pockets are also ill. However, in this dispersion there is perhaps the greatest danger, just if these workers have not been intelligently managed by the managers of the different chains, and of the hotels themselves, for when everything is normalized, and they must return to their originals occupations.

The concern of this reporter found common ground in the last plenary session of the Provincial Committee of the  Cuban Trade Workers Union in Matanzas, where several union voices were already warning of the possible non-return of more than 700 employees, because they felt better paid where they were relocated, despite even liking it less than what they did in Varadero.

It should not be forgotten that in the last 20 years, low salaries have been precisely the cause of the exodus of qualified force, very harmful for an industry dependent on this competition and ensuring quality in the provision of services, essential in a sphere where people count so much. professional performance, kindness, talent, aptitude.

An element to take into account is now obvious. It seems that Varadero loses attractiveness as a source of employment in the context of the Ordinance Task. The wage reform there did not fulfill the expectations of those who hoped to leave the historic place of being the lowest paid business sector in Cuba. Except for the mixed hotels, a few, the rest of the hotel employees, precisely where the tourist activity takes place, barely exceeds 2,210 pesos of the minimum wage, discontent to which is added the high payments that now must be paid in dining rooms and worker transportation, discounts that in fact leave wages very thin in Varadero.

The same Ordering Task that favors the budgeted sector and a turn in the income pyramid, also adds fuel to a fire of the possible loss of prepared strength. Perhaps they will think about it and want to return some of those who once dropped out of schools or any place where they now earn better. Low wages and a lot of work is the list that does not play with the ticket, exclaim many of those who do want tourism to find a formula that pays according to the place it occupies in generating income to the country, but also that it pays in correspondence with individual quality, savings and efficiency, incentives that attract markets and make them repeating.

At the beginning of the arrival of the Covid-19 in Cuba, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel warned about the imperative of preserving the workforce, in clear reference to a defining variable in the daily life of any organization, but much more in that of the tourism. The hotel chains, the unions, have to continue doing more, if they do it, to manage in their maximum expression the men and women who have given everything for their facilities. Tourism should return in a big way, and only with a trained, capable and committed force. If the tourism workers are not taken care of, the quality will then take care of collecting it. And that is a price that Varadero may not be willing to pay.


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