20 January 2018, Saturday, 4:14

Prakapovich warns about mass dismissals


“Modernisation” will lead to mass dismissals of Belarusian workers.

Deputy prime minister of Belarus Piotr Prakapovich made this statement yesterday in Zhlobin. He took part in a seminar to discuss the development of small and medium-sized business, BelTA news agency reports.

The official reminded about the ongoing modernisation of industrial enterprises “that will lead to the displacement of a part of workers”. “Besides, we don't have enough Belarusian goods and services to meet the demand of our population in full. Salaries are gradually growing, people have more money, but we don't have enough domestic goods,” the deputy PM said.

Other officials already warned the so called modernisation, launched by the Belarusian authorities, would result in mass layoffs.

It follows from the draft concept of socially responsible enterprise restructuring in Belarus, the document prepared by the Ministry of Labour. The authors notice the inefficient ratio of workers of different categories in the country. Many state-run enterprises have from 1.33 to 4 support employees per one worker involved in the manufacturing process.

Uladzimir Karahin, the chairman of the Minsk Union of Small Businessmen and Employers said recently about layoffs of tens of thousands of workers due to the “modernisation”. He stressed that employment of 170,000 workers, who would be laid off due to the “modernisation”, was in question. “A considerable part is women of 50 years old living in small towns,” he said in late November.

Particular enterprises that may face mass dismissals were mentioned. Belshina plant plans to lay off one third of its workers. The issue was discussed in August during the visit of PM Mikhail Miasnikovich to the plant.

Workers of other big enterprises reported about mass dismissals this year. Workers of Horizont plant told charter97.org that more than 100 people had been laid off.

Workers also quit due to low salaries. A worker of the Minsk Automobile Plant wrote that from 12 to 15 people quit the plant every day in August. Most of them were graduates of vocational schools, who were mandatory assigned to the plant after the graduation. Workers also quit the Minsk Tractor Plant for overdue wages. The plant management continued to say there were no problems with selling the plant's products.

“Modernisation” was launched a year ago as a step to reorient the Belarusian economy on producing import-substituting goods and boosting the export. The authorities say “higher labor effectiveness can secure better living standards, solve the problem of reaching a stable foreign trade surplus and increase the competitive ability of domestic products.”