Tourism, government services, education, health care, entertainment, and other services account for about two-fifths of the employment in Cuba. In the 1990s Cuba made great efforts to modernize and expand its tourist business, and several new hotels and resorts were built, notably by Spanish and Canadian investors. Tourists are drawn to Cuba’s white sand beaches and vibrant nightclubs, as well as to the many historic buildings in central Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Trinidad that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. The country’s extensive coral reefs, forested highlands, and lush mangrove swamps are additional attractions. However, the increased dependence on foreign tourism has been accompanied by growing concern over illegal activities (notably prostitution and drug trafficking) and socioeconomic inequalities, wherein tourist areas are provided with many comforts and conveniences that are unavailable to the general public—a situation sometimes described as a “tourism apartheid.”
The rate of unemployment in Cuba is lower than in many Latin American countries. However, numerous jobs were lost in the 1990s as the economy was hit by the breakup of the Soviet Union. Underemployment is a persistent concern among industrial workers. The State Committee for Work and Social Security sets all wages for the government, which is the dominant employer. Moreover, many jobs must be arranged through state agencies. The standard workweek is 44 hours.
The constitution places the needs of the “economy and society” over the demands of individual workers. However, the document also guarantees an eight-hour workday and one month of paid vacation per year. Strikes are illegal, and independent labour unions are discouraged; no known strike has ever been staged under communist rule.
The only legally recognized labour organization is the Confederation of Cuban Workers, which is designed to support the government, raise the political consciousness of workers, and improve managerial performance and labour discipline.
Few Cuban workers pay income taxes, although self-employed workers are heavily taxed. Many Cubans make in-kind contributions to the government by participating in mass organizations, volunteering for agricultural work, or meeting production quotas through overtime. Most teenagers are expected to spend several weeks each summer doing agricultural work. The social security program is financed by an enterprise tax. "Cuba" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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