Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cuba to Increase Wages for Doctors

Cuba to Increase Wages for Doctors
December 25, 2013
Jimmy Roque Martinez

HAVANA TIMES – A much-announced wage increase will reach the pockets of
Cuban health professionals this coming January, sources that prefer to
remain anonymous told HT. There had been talk of this for about a year.

The opinions surrounding this rumor have been quite varied. Some didn't
believe it. Others thought it could happen, but that the salary increase
would be next to insignificant. A few optimists not only believed the
news to be true but were also convinced it would be a considerable wage

The news gained some impetus this past Monday, as the payroll
adjustments in the country's health centers have begun. The wage
increase is imminent and has been confirmed by at least two health
sector officials to Havana Times.

One of the sources reported that the Ministry of Health hasn't yet
announced how much salaries will be raised by (apparently, it won't be
the same amount for everyone).

The adjustments will be made on the basis of the wage scale, beginning
with medical doctors, who are to receive a 100 percent basic wage increase.

The salaries health professionals are to be paid for the month of
December in January will reportedly already include the raise.

The news has been very well received by workers in the sector who, like
education professionals, have practically no other income beyond their
salaries (i.e. opportunities to misappropriate State resources or
receive incentives). It is hoped a wage increase will also be seen for
teachers in the not so far off future.

"It isn't much, because, in addition to food, one has to buy other
things, like soap and detergent, but it's better than nothing," a
hospital technician stated. A janitor said that "it's very positive and
I'm very happy, but they're going to expect more of us now."

A doctor commented she thought it was a very encouraging development and
that the salaries of Cuban health professionals working in missions in
Venezuela had also been raised. "We're heading in the right direction,"
she stressed.

It is also rumored that the salaries of Cuban doctors working in the
South American nation will get an additional 100 Cuban Convertible Pesos
(CUC), the so-called "frozen account."

According to figures just presented to the Cuban parliament, spending in
State subsidized sectors will experience a 2 percent increase in 2014,
22 percent of which will be accounted for by increased spending in
public health. Most probably, this increase in State spending is related
to the current wage reform.

That said, salaries will continue to be wholly inadequate in terms of
satisfying the basic needs of the average Cuban, as the prices of basic
products, particularly food, continue to rise at a rate higher than that
of wages.

It is worth recalling that the medical services Cuba has been offering
abroad have brought in large sums of money into the country and that, in
view of this, health sector employees have long been demanding better
payment for their work.

Source: "Cuba to Increase Wages for Doctors - Havana" -

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