21 May 2018, Monday, 18:02
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Real Wages: ‘$ 150 Each’

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PHOTO: TASS

What is the mood with which the residents of the Belarusian regions entered the new year 2018?

Previously, Prime Minister Andrei Kabiakou stated that in the new year the Belarusian economy should be growing and the GDP would increase by 3,5%. However, there’s much less optimism among the ordinary Belarusians.

Mazyr Refinery: The year 2018 started not exactly well

Head of the primary organization of the Independent Trade Union at JSC “Mazyr Refinery” Youry Shvets informed udf.by, that there was the increase of salaries at the enterprise in the end of last year — this event had been expected for three years. However, it cannot be said that it made everybody happy.

“They raised the wages in two stages. However, it was not the format everyone expected. Every employee had own coefficient, and now they come across different percentage of the growth of wages. Some are happy, some are not.. The workers say the bosses benefited the most from all this,” — Yury Shvets says.

According to him, the latest statistics of the administration of the plant asserts that the average salary for the enterprise is 1600 rubles. But the incomes of workers vary greatly. It is not easy to determine the level of wages that the majority receives.

“The year 2018 started not exactly well. The director sent a proposal to the trade union to suspend the operation of certain items of the collective agreement. The reason is that no profit is expected,” — Yury Shvets said. — This is how the new year started. However, we have a traditionally bad start every year. And in December we give honorary certificates to each other, they say, everything was fine. This is our Belarusian reality.”

In mid-2017, Lukashenka said that “oil refining from the flagship of the economy is turning into a unprofitable industry that needs to be modernized.” Now the Mazyr refinery is implementing a modernization project worth more than $ 1,7 billion. According to Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Siamashka, the main works should be completed by the end of 2018, and by mid-2019, it will reach its full capacity.

Brest: “People are facing consequences of their illiteracy and indifference to their rights”

“The holidays are over, but I cannot say that they gave optimism to the people of Brest. It is difficult to meet people with a happy expression on their faces in the streets, everyone looks gloomy,” — Zinaida Mikhniuk, the representative of the REP trade union in the Brest region, told reporters.

For the whole 2017, the officials talked about moving to an average salary of Bn 1,000, but the growth of wages in Brest was not felt. At the once known factory “Tsvetotron”, workers “make ends meet, as always”, — Zinaida Mikhniuk said. During the Soviet era, about 7 000 people worked at the “Tsvetotron”, today there are only a few hundred.

However, those who left the enterprises to trade on the market, in search of a better life, are not happy either.

“The girls complain that they cannot earn enough to buy bread. There are days when trade does not go at all, but the public transport costs money, and there’s a need to buy a roll and a cup of tea,” — the representative of the REP trade union said.

Despite the fact that the government announced the creation of 50 000 new jobs, it was not noticed in Brest, Zinaida Mikhniuk said:

“Recently, a woman came to us, who was forced by the company to make a contract-work agreement for three months. Now she is afraid that the contract will not be renewed, and she will be fired.”

With the onset of frost, it became apparent how enterprises save on heating the premises: “There are cases when the storekeeper complains: pens don’t write, and the frozen fingers cannot hold it.”

“People began to face the consequences of their illiteracy and indifference to their rights. The union was addressed by a woman who, only having retired, realized that she lacks insurance experience, which in recent years has increased several times and must reach 20 years,” — Zinaida Mihniuk said.

At the same time, some activity of the townspeople was also observed in Brest: in these days, many people sign against the construction of a battery plant by the Chinese, fearing a negative impact on nature and their health.

“In our trade union, we hope that people will get more enthusiastic before the 100th anniversary of the BPR. I would like March 25 to be celebrated greatly,” — Zinaida Mikhniuk says.

“$ 500 each” somehow transformed into “$ 150 each” here

Head of the Slonim branch of the REP trade union Mikhail Soshka told reporters that the problem with the availability of decent jobs is acute in the city.

“Yesterday I was in the employment center: they could not offer me anything. And this is not surprising: the enterprises are wrecked. In Slonim there are no normal salaries — unless, of course, you are not a boss, not an official. How did the leader of Belarus say: “$ 500 Each”? Here, it somehow transformed into “$ 100-150 Each”. The locals have a long way to go to reach the aforementioned sum,” — Mikhail Soshka says.

According to the head of the professional group, the inhabitants of Slonim would like to see some changes in the coming year.

“Many are dissatisfied. This is especially evident in the conversations regarding the forthcoming local elections. People would like to see their representatives who would protect their interests. Protest is not yet ready, but at any time the situation may change,” — Mikhail Soshka said.