Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Translation: Enterprise, directors and workers

Here, a Granma reader proposes that workers be empowered to elect the directors of socialist state enterprises.

The enterprise, the directors and the workers

Granma letter published January 7, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

The year 2011 brings with it a central theme for all Cubans: the updating of our economic model. The reorganisation of the workforce and the discussion of the Draft [Economic and Social Policy] Guidelines prior to the 6th Communist Party Congress are tasks that cannot fail to concern and involve all Cubans.

According to what is projected in the Guidelines, the new socialist [state] enterprise will enjoy a certain administrative autonomy with regard to its working capital and investments, the creation of funds [for investments and worker incentives — translator's note], approval of its payroll and the prices of products and services; in addition to what is now the prerogative of the enterprise director, according to Article 8, Resolution 35/2010 of the Ministry of Work and Social Security (MTSS) on the determination of the workers to be retained and those to be laid off [in the rationalisation of the state-sector workforce], among other flexibilities.

It is also projected that the incomes of the workers in state enterprises be tied to the final results obtained, and that loss-making enterprises would be summonsed to a process of liquidation. However, there is a theme very closely related to this economic conception that is not found in the Draft Guidelines, regarding the cadres [i.e. enterprise directors] policy, other than the specifics of Guidelines 66 and 202.  

In my judgement it would be prudent to envisage the participation of the workers in the management of the socialist state enterprise through the election, ratification or replacement of the enterprise directors. [...] It would be beneficial to apply this policy at least for the election of the president of the enterprise directors, for the directors of the local units, directors of factories, divisions. 

Taking into account the shareholder character of the workers in the new conception of the socialist state enterprise, because although their participation in production and services is determined by the contribution they make with their intellectual and physical capabilities, their personal incomes and the survival of the enterprise [will] depend on their efforts and results.       

All this would imply a great responsibility and commitment from the directors to the work collective that elected them and the strengthening of the democratic character of our social system. It would elevate the sense of ownership and responsibility of the workers with regard to the resources placed at their disposal to achieve greater productive efficiency.       

In summary, if the workers, the legitimate owners of the means of production, must entrust their fate to the enterprise management, I think they should have the right to elect those they have confidence in.

E. Gonzalez Cruz

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