The average state salary in Cuba rose 1 percent in 2013 to 471 pesos ($20) a month, which maintains the trend toward slight increases seen in recent years, according to an official report published Tuesday.
A study posted on the Web site of the National Statistics and Information Office, or ONEI, indicates that the average monthly wage in the state economy topped the 466 pesos ($17) of 2012, a year when it rose 2.4 percent over the previous year.
ONEI figures show that during the last eight years the salaries of public employees - more than 4 million people according to last year’s figures - have had constant annual raises, though very modest ones.
In 2006, average monthly pay was 387 pesos ($16).
By sectors, construction maintained the highest average state salary in 2013 at 582 pesos ($24), which should change in the coming months after an exceptional increase is awarded to healthcare workers.
The government acknowledges that low wages are a problem, but observes that Cubans pay no basic services like healthcare and education, while prices in many other categories are subsidized.
President Raul Castro has insisted that pay hikes be linked to greater productivity and that “in the short term” there will be no general wage increase.
Nonetheless, the government approved raises for the more than 440,000 medical workers that will kick in this month, on grounds that the export of Cuban healthcare services is today the nation’s chief source of income, worth some $6 billion per year.
Between 2008-2009, certain increases were added to pensions and to salaries in sectors like the judiciary and education.