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The ITUC does not have an affiliate in Cuba.

Cuba ratified Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948) in 1952 and Convention No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949) in 1952.

In practice

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New government reform programme31-12-2011

The government violates the right to collective bargaining, freedom of association and the independent representation of workers. It has decided to make mass redundancies, leaving hundreds of thousands of people jobless, and announced tougher repressive and disciplinary measures in the workplace. It is trying to develop a model that preserves the essence of the system, i.e. collectivism, state ownership of the means of production, centralised decision making, planning and prohibition of the individual accumulation of wealth, at the same time as demanding greater productivity from companies and workers, and denying economic, political and cultural freedom through increased control and repression.

According to the Plenary of the National Council of the CTC, “we have to show the world that the workers, the backbone of our society, will forge ahead until the economic situation has been overcome, certain that they are taking the only correct and just path possible”. Salvador Valdés, general secretary of the CTC, underlined the need to ensure that the 2011 Plan draws on the lessons of 2010: “The major economic challenges facing the country require the trade union movement to change its methods and approaches, to act as a healthy counterbalance to the violations and transgressions that may arise with the implementation of the changes”.

The initial results of this process demonstrate that, despite the prior preparation for these changes, there are still problems that need to be resolved. Although this is a predominantly administrative process, the union cannot be neutral and must be the first to ensure that workers are given the help they need and are not abandoned.

Repression stifles labour rights30-11-2011

The number of politically-motivated arrests was estimated to have reached 1,224 in November 2010, which discourages the formation of independent trade unions, as the authorities view exercising freedom of association as a political activity.

Political legislation overrides trade union laws31-12-2010

There have been no changes in the Cuban labour legislation. The trade union movement is controlled by the Cuban state, and the leaders of the single union CTC are not elected by the workers but appointed by the state and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Workers’ rights violations persist10-06-2009

On 10 June, the former political prisoner José Ramón Castillo denounced various trade union rights violations in Cuba to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Amnesty International had declared him a prisoner of conscience and he testified before this forum as a victim of repression in Cuba. He stated that Cuban workers’ right to self-determination is not respected on the island. Workers do not have the right to organise trade unions independent of the state and five Cubans are currently serving prison sentences for having tried to organise independent trade unions. This information has been widely documented by the relevant international institutions.

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