The soul in each seam

It is enough to enter a chain production workshop to discover what work is : a worker´s eagerness depends on the speed and effort of the previous one. As in those films of manufacture, there the task runs one by one and without stopping a moment: like ants.

This is how hard is the work in Julito Díaz 114 Factory , from Ariguanabo Confections Basic Unit Enterprise (UEB) belonging to the Ministry of Industry, where 72 machines do not stop making seams to dress those who defend, in the first row, our country.

Located in Artemisa capital, the textile factory has 91 workers, of 94 planned in the workforce, and 77 women are in charge of the main task , since none of the men sews.

Their social purpuse is to produce campaign and official uniforms, handkerchiefs, sheets, pillowcases, coats and other garments for the institutions for the defense in Cuba. However, they also make uniform for Public Health Ministry (Minsap) and the clothing of agricultural workers in the province.

"We work according to a plan of physical units and values. The production is in line with the demand for garments and the commitments assumed by the company, "explains Anabel Torres, factory manager.

The average salary ranges around 600 pesos; They also receive a stipend for their food. "The payment is for results; in this entity , everyone gets the wage according to what they produce , because of the speed and number of pieces, " Torres adds.

Each person has the responsibility to make an effort in accordance with the brigades manufacturing flow, to achieve as many garments as possible.

According to Arturo Suárez, head of production, in the first quarter they produced at 108 percent, with 26,025 units higher than expected, "thanks to the effort of those who sew for FAR and Minint.

"From Monday to Thursday they work nine hours, and on Friday eight, with only about 15 minutes in the morning, others in the afternoon for a snack and half an hour for lunch; the rest of the time they are stuck to the machine, "says Suárez and points to the devices that do not stop working.

Difficulties and longings

However, working conditions are not the best. A bathroom waits two months ago for hoses; while, the ladies must go to men´s bathroom . "The brigade that made the bathroom delivered it, and before the first week it had to be closed, as it had leaks," Torres says.

Windows and walls need changes, repairs and painting. Being part of the project For an industrial culture in detail not only includes that girls have new and comfortable chairs, but also that working conditions favor the "eternal" nine hours sitting.

During these months of heavy rains, windows should be a priority for the corresponding authorities. Without avoiding the vicissitudes that the country faces, it becomes essential to combine the quality of the productions with the quality and comfort in the work area.

Having new technologies in the machinery, which enable greater efficiency in the production cycle, is another dream, perhaps the farthest in the distance, of this group, but even with difficulties and shortcomings, laughter and enthusiasm are not lacking among workers.

Alice, among seams

Drink a good coffee in the morning, thank a new day and greet everyone along the way. Then get to work. Then the day really begins for her.

Her blue eyes do not stop lighting up when he sees how the parts that make up a pair of pants come together. She admits that he never stop surprising when she sees that a piece has been well, with a good finish, because that is the true duty fulfilled.

She stands out due to laborious and tenacious in these 37 years of work. She has gone through almost all the areas of the workshop and, although she is now a brigade chief, Alicia Martínez loves being in a machine.

" Production area is the one I like the most , it is where you are part of the complete process of forming the piece. My favorites? The official campaign shirts. "

The affection and respect that her co workers show her has served as a driving force for Alicia. "If they let me choose something, I'll take them, the best this work has given me." Perhaps that same admiration has included her among the delegates to the Provincial Conference of the Workers' Confederation of Cuba, soon.

Only teacher in training? Actually Alicia has never stopped being that , because in the workshop she teaches, educates and, every Friday, it is customary to induce reflection with a short story that reads to her workers.

In addition, she has two granddaughters who have been the greatest of her daughter's gifts. "Sewing is my beloved office, and my granddaughters are my greatest treasure.

" I will retire here ! And when I do it , it will be to dedicate more time to them, "she says with the assurance of having left the soul in every seam, in every shirt, pants, or in the difficult coat that she does not like much to sew, but she knows it necessary and make it.

Maybe like other colleagues in love with their work of so many years, and tanned in the industrious spirit of 114 Factory, I suspect that Alicia will continue to tap even outside those walls, because she will not be able to live without that singular sound of the sewing machine.

TRANSLATION BY LMMS

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