The Cuban government has authorized the founding of the first union section for drivers of horse-drawn carriages, with a membership of more than 30 independent workers, in the central province of Villa Clara, official media said Monday.

This is one of the country's 14 union sections in the field of transportation, according to Fermin Umpierre, member of the national secretariat of the Transport Union, cited in the official weekly Trabajadores.

There are four union sections in Villa Clara for different trades made up of self-employed people.

Among the horse-drawn-carriage drivers in the union are both young people and retirees from the public sector.

Until April more than 250,000 self-employed workers had joined Cuba's only legal union, according to official figures.

Cuba eliminated 140,000 state jobs in 2011 and plans to cut another 110,000 during 2012, the year when 50 percent of the labor reorganization undertaken on the Communist-ruled island is expected to be completed in an effort to scale down the bloated public labor forces.

According to the latest figures released, more than 390,000 Cubans have a license to exercise any of the 180 authorized types of self-employment.

The production and sale of food products and the transport of freight and passengers are the businesses that have attracted the most private-sector workers so far. EFE