Havana, Some 45 percent of workers in Cuba's sugar industry have been affected by the country's push to slash the public sector payroll, Communist Party daily Granma said Friday.

The government of President Raul Castro decided to restructure the sugar industry, formerly the principal driver of the nation's economy and currently in a critical state, to the point that in 2010 it had its worst harvest in the last 105 years.

One of the measures adopted has been the elimination of the historic Sugar Ministry and the substitution of the business group AZCUBA, an umbrella organization covering 13 provincial companies plus nine support and services agencies, two research institutes and a training center.

The number of sugar mills in the country has also been slashed, leaving 56 currently active.

The changes have reduced the structure of the sugar industry, where 30 percent of its units were "inefficient," Granma said Friday.

The redesign of the sugar agribusiness has inevitably meant cuts to its work force.

In December 2010 the process of restructuring the work force was initiated, though it has not yet been finished, and as part of the process 45 percent of the workers involved have already been relocated," Granma said.

Workers affected by reductions of state payrolls are being offered jobs in other sectors including self-employment, while those who are unable to be relocated "are paid the guaranteed wage compensation in such cases," Granma said.

The new structure makes cuts to the work force and consequently to total wage expenditures" in the sugar industry, where for the coming year these measures are expected to generate some $120 million in profits and reduce administrative costs by 55 percent.

Between 2002 and 2004, Cuba had already slashed the number of its sugar refineries from 156 to 61, eliminated 100,000 jobs and shrunk the amount of land planted with sugarcane from 2 million hectares (5 million acres) to some 750,000 hectares (2 million acres), according to official figures.

source: menafn

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