HAVANA – The median wage for employees of state-run enterprises in Cuba increased 24 percent in 2014 to 584 pesos ($24) a month, the steepest hike in years, according to figures released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, or ONEI.
Last year’s increase compares with rises of 1 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, in the two preceding years.
Data posted on the ONEI website show nine years of annual wage increases for the more than 4 million Cubans who work in the state sector.
Employees in the sugar industry were the best-paid in 2014, making 963 pesos ($40) a month.
Next were workers at mines and quarries, 819 pesos ($38); science and technology specialists, 811 pesos ($34); public health and social work, 712 pesos ($30); and agriculture, ranching, forestry and fisheries, who earned 679 ($38) a month.
The Cuban government has acknowledged that low wages are a problem in the island, while touting the benefits of free health care and education and noting that the prices of many essential goods are subsidized.
President Raul Castro has said that higher pay is linked to progress in productivity, warning Cubans not to express an across-the-board raise in the “short term.”