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Friday, July 07, 2017

Low wages apparently spurring Manzana Kempinski workers to quit

Low wages apparently spurring Manzana Kempinski workers to quit
DDC | La Habana | 7 de Julio de 2017 - 11:28 CEST.

Some workers at the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, Cuba's most luxurious
and expensive, earn salaries even lower than the national average, which
seems to be prompting them to leave, according to the Uruguayan
journalist Fernando Ravsberg in his blog Letters from Cuba (Cartas desde
Cuba).

While one night at the hotel can cost $1,300, the cleaning staff earns
233 pesos (national currency) plus a bonus of 10 CUC (which the
government equates to the dollar). An employee consulted by Ravsberg,
without specifying her position, said that in total, she receives less
than $20 a month.

According to the latest data published by the Government, the average
monthly salary in 2016 was 740 Cuban pesos, equivalent to $29.60 USD.

The salary problems at the Kempinski seems to have spurred "several of
the employees to resign, causing instability in terms of the trained
personnel," said Ravsberg.

"This creates difficulties for the foreign management, which would be
willing to increase wages if the Cuban side allowed it, according to an
employee," he added.

Last June, just before the Manzana Kempinski was officially inaugurated,
hotel security workers told DIARIO DE CUBA that they were earning around
350 Cuban pesos, plus 10 CUC per month.

An employee at the D'CUBA boutique said that she received 350 pesos and
10 CUC per month, plus 14 pesos per day to cover food costs.

Several of these workers expressed hope that wages would rise once the
hotel opened, which apparently has not happened. All were contracted
through a state employment agency, as required by the Government in its
dealings with foreign companies.

These agencies keep most of the wages paid by foreign companies, and
give workers an amount "in line" with Cuba's (low) wages.

The Manzana, which forms part of the inventory of the powerful GAESA
military consortium, is run by the luxury Swiss chain Kempinski.

The hotel sparked controversy during its construction due to the meager
wages paid Cuban workers. The Cubans were ultimately replaced by Indian
workers, who earned $1,600 a month, 20 times more than workers on the
island.

To justify this hiring GAESA's Almest Real Estate Company explained that
the Indian workers were "three or four times more productive"than the
average Cuban.

Source: Low wages apparently spurring Manzana Kempinski workers to quit
| Diario de Cuba - http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1499419718_32399.html
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