24 September 2018, Monday, 7:43
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Leanid Sudalenka: Default Might Come To The Country

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Drawing: EKATERINA MARTINOVICH

The authorities are not able to pay salaries.

The Belarusian "Parliament" has immediately burst with an idea to increase the retirement age increase following the example of Russia. In particular, yesterday Minister of Labour Iryna Kastsevich distinguished herself by a scandalous remark that "60 years for a man is not an old age."

It is noteworthy that trend was "launched" by Lukashenka himself in 2016. He stated that "a man of 60 years old can be a big help."

Does it mean that both men and women of Belarus will suffer extraordinary retirement age increase? Leanid Sudalenka, the legal inspector of labour of the Independent Trade Union of Radio and Electronic Industry (REP), told Charter97.org about the situation.

- Of course. if the mentioned "man of 60 years old" lives in Drazdy, he can work when he is 60 or even 70 years old. When the official had her speech in the "Parliament", she nodded at men in the audience. I'd like to say that these men have never picked up a thing heavier than a cell phone.

Let's better consider a man living in a rural area, who works hard daily. These people have poor health state at 50 years, to say nothing of 60 years. Plus, many of them drink alcohol of poor quality, and it bears consequences.

The same situation is with workers at enterprises. Let's take Gomselmash as an example. It's a sorry sight, unfortunately. People get exausted very soon. That's why only these living in Drazdy can say that men of 60 years old are "as strong as horses".

- Will the Belarusian authorities take the retirement age increase inspired by the example of Russian colleagues?

- You know, if the government sees no other options but this to improve the economic situation and to pay pensions for men of 60 years old, the country has apparently faced the default. The government is likely to disengage itself from obligations. First, they increase the retirement age to 63 years, now they want to raise it up to 65 years. It's obvious that the government ignores interests of ordinary citizens and it incites disaffection.

Of course, our independent Trade Union does not agree with the authorities' intentions. Today life expectancy drastically differs in Belarus and Europe. I repeat that the authorities disengage themselves from obligations by extending the retirement age. Moreover, the young fall short of every desire to work for a pension they will hardly can get. It means no motivation for work.

In my opinion, the government should follow the example of the West: to introduce financial defined contributions so that the family could get the pension of the passed-away person. In general, this is money for a rainy day. Why does the state not pay it out to the family of the person who passed away? This is the point. That's why I stress that the European-like reform is required.

Special pensions also raise a great concern. It's obvious that the military and police officers deserve a higher pension in a democratic country, but it should not drastically exceed one of an ordinary citizen.

The other issue to discuss is pensions of state officials. Who does say that their pension should be five times higher than one of ordinary pensioners? And the situation is like that. I wonder where they take money from. . An average pension is 300 rubles, and former official gets more than 2 thousand rubles. It's not a secret that this is money of the budget. Why do workers have to support the army of former state officials who got much?

In general, there are lots of questions unanswered. To sum up, I say that if a Belarusian man of 60 years old worked at an enterprise or on a farm for decades, he has a poor health state. It's not fair to increase the retirement age for him by five years. Statements of officials are staetements of the evil one. "MPs" are in good health and have no troubles. It would у nice for officials to visit rural areas and look at ordinary workies. Look at their faces and arms.

- Do you help workers cheated by "the pension reform"?

- At the moment, there are two cases I deal with. I help Anatol Paplauny, tool man from Gomelkabel, who demands the retirement pension. According to new rules, it will be granted only in a year and a half. Anatol does not accept it and intends to resist.

Foundry man of Kalinkovichi machinery and repair plant Ruslan Metlitski has also asked the Trade Union for help. He worked in hazardous industry for six years; it gives him the right to retire six years earlier. Unfortunately, the department of Kalinkavichy District Executive Committee denied pension to him. They say that according to the "pension reform" he must retire at the age of 56. That is, he must work for other two years. But the retirement age will increase in two years again. Ruslan does not want to waste two years.

In general, we intend to create a precedent. In case of a success, people who fail with pensions at the age of 55 and years can use it. First, we appeal to the district judge, then to the regional and even the Supreme. I guess that Chairman of the Supreme and the Constitutional Courts should say their word about it. Why do they ignore such weighty issues for Belarusians?

- Is it worth for the authorities to come up with other ways to replenish the budget instead of depriving pensioners of their last money?

- Of course, the government should be involved in the economic situation in the country: to attract investments, to promote GDP growth, to create jobs, to ensure a decent salary. So that people could earn much more than the promised "$500-salary". The government takes the wrong path.