Cuban Health Workers Upset by the Distribution of a Cash ‘Stimulus’

“What is the fault of those of us who get sick with covid or anything else?” the health workers complain. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 6 December 2021 — The delivery, on December 15 ,of a “stimulus” in national currency to workers in the health sector is generating controversy among doctors, nurses, dentists, technologists, graduates and other workers of the Ministry of Public Health.

The measure, which the Government presents as a recognition of the labor of its workers during the pandemic, “does not cover those who for various reasons were not present or who voluntarily did not undertake all the tasks.” Thus, all those who at some point, during the pandemic, requested a license, medical leave or worked remotely, will be unable to collect the bonus.

The letter, signed by the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Luis Fernando Navarro Martínez, establishes the rules to be taken into account to make the payment of the stimulus in cash effective “to the professionals, technicians and other health workers who have worked in confronting the pandemic.”

However, the decision to recognize the work of health personnel is overshadowed by the requirements to take into account, when evaluating who is eligible and who is not to receive this unprecedented benefit in the recent history of this country, because “it is for those who really deserve it.”

“Those who ‘of their own free will’, they say, as if I had not assumed the tasks because I did not feel like it, but who was going to take care of my young son then?” a worker at a Polyclinic in the capital tells 14ymedio before issuing a warning: “I did work for a long time during the pandemic, until my mother could no longer take care of my son, and since on the 15th they did not pay me the stimulus, I asked to resign and leave,” she says, upset.

Although it is true that for a good part of the sector it will be beneficial, especially in these times of excessive inflation that further devalues ​​the already symbolic state wages, there are discrepancies between those who do meet the requirements and those who find it unfair that other colleagues are not paid equally.

Such is the case of a doctor at the Manuel Fajardo hospital. “Yes, we are going to receive it this month and we will collect depending on the basic salary of each person. The normal salary of about 5,300 is paid on the 10th and then they will pay the same amount as the basic on the 15th, 5,060 pesos in my case, I’m a doctor. ”

This doctor does not believe that it is fair that some receive help and others do not, since he “is aware and saddened that a nurse who was allowed by the 60% law to be able to take care of her child, and a doctor with maternity leave, will receive extra.” At the same time she recognizes that they have a more difficult situation due to having small children and that, therefore, their personal expenses are higher.

The workers at the Joaquín Albarrán polyclinic, in Centro Habana, “are beside themselves from the insult,” according to a person who has ties to some of them. “They tell me that when the union met to explain what the matter was about, there was tremendous uproar, because it was enough to have one unjustified absence for them to not pay someone the incentive,” he says.

“What is the fault of those of us who get sick from covid or anything else?” Asks another worker in the sector. The man explains that he was absent from his position as a nurse in another polyclinic because he was “very ill and with hemoglobin at 6, that is, on the floor,” and adds that, as soon as he recovered, he returned to work. Now, he protests, the situation is that “with those days recorded, I’s invalidated from collecting the famous incentive.” In addition, he blames the union for being willing to comply with all the orders “from above” and not defending his rights as a worker.

Another doctor, excited and grateful for the action by the ministry, commented to her colleagues in a medical office: “I think they are doing it so that if the new omicron strain should cause a lot of damage and we have a setback in this regard, nobody is going to miss work, not even if they have small children, not even if they get sick or anything. ”

Some health centers in the capital have rejected the certificate models presented to the ministry, since “when calculating the parameters, we only took into account the absences, certificates and licenses of this last year,” when the plan was that the last two years of work would be taken into account.

This situation hurts several workers who “classified as eligible” to receive the salary stimulus, but who will no longer be chosen when the new document includes the labor criteria for this year and the previous one. “We are very sorry and we feel sorry for our workers, but it is what it is,” laments a worker from the Human Resources Department of one of these centers who agreed to speak with 14ymedio on condition of anonymity.


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