21 May 2019, Tuesday, 3:03
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11 Thousand Workers May Contribute to the Army of ‘Parasites’

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The situation at the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant will be resolved at the expense of employees.

Recently it became known that 10.9 thousand workers of the Belarusian Metallurgical Plant (BMP) in Zhlobin may be left without work.

Net profit of one of the largest enterprises of Belarus amounted to only Br300 thousand in 2018.

However, taking into account previous losses, as of January 1, the giant of the industry reached minus of Br345.6 million.

Ihar Komlik, one of the leaders of the REP Trade Union, commented Charter97.org on the situation at the plant.

- How, in your opinion, can the situation at BMP develop?

- The enterprise, as well as the majority of "giants" of Belarusian industry, is inefficient: all of them either have low profitability or suffer direct losses.

Therefore, the scenario will be similar to what we have already observed: the Lukashenka Directorate will solve the issue at the expense of employees.

Most likely, workers of the BMP will take either a part-time job or will be forced to write applications for indefinite leave at their own expense.

Unfortunately, the economy of Belarus, being an extension of the political system, is designed in such a way that any emerging problems are solved by shifting citizens to the group of "unemployed in the economy".

The most indicative example is the notorious decree on "parasites". It tries to solve the problem of inefficiency of the economy by infringing on the rights of some Belarusians. Therefore, in case with the BMP, such a variant is possible: all or some part of 11 thousand workers may join the army of "parasites", which, given the number of increased utility bills, is already quite large in the Homel region.

I don't know how open and wide-ranging cuts will be. I hope that the transition to the "parasite army" is a distant prospect for BWP workers, but it's likely that they will be economically infringed in the near future. Given that the BWP has people of different ages, older workers, who find it harder to find a place on the labor market in Belarus and abroad, may be the first to join ranks of "parasites".

As for younger specialists, they will likely join the army of Belarusians who leave the country. It may happen that they will be considered as "unemployed in the economy" in their home country.

Well, the Belarusian economy will lose even more workers, taxpayers and skilled personnel, which only exacerbate the average figures "in the hospital". It's such a vicious circle.

- Since 2015, decrees have been signed on providing state support to the BWP in the amount of USD 240 million and BR30 million. Why is this amount?

- I remember such a curious case: in 2015, several weeks before the "elections," Lukashenka's press service published the photo of the ruler with the heads of the BMP and Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Semashka pressing the button of the new line against the background of the poster "We are the iron base of Belarus!", So, the situation is ridiculous: the next support has decayed.

By the way, these "bases" constantly change. In 2015, we relied on the BMP, then tried to rely on the "Great Stone"...

Lukashenka's system of personal control over the economy is based on constant throwing from one "magic wand to another". However, practice shows all efforts are useless, all the bases fall, and the Belarusian authorities remain in the situation of a lame duck.

Reconstruction and "modernization" of woodworking has not been a success. The same story happened to agriculture. Even according to the official data, the crisis hits every industry, which is being 'improved'. As soon as the authorities turn to other "base", it falls.

The current situation with the BMP means that the "lame duck" has also reached the steel industry. Since 2015, these millions have probably been allocated for some kind of reconstruction or modernization. But as we can see, the word "modernization" has become a curse for Belarusian enterprises.

Apparently, the money is not a universal remedy. The management system is crucial: who and how uses this money, whether it can be done without strict control of the major "specialist" and without taking into account his directives.

- Economists note that in order to continue its activities, the enterprise needs to attract external financing. Can the BMP attract a foreign investor?

- I doubt it. Although attraction of serious foreign investors could really help the company. Let's remember the story with Motovelo or Orsha Aircraft Repair Plant.

As long as there is such a situation with democracy in politics and economics in the country, a serious investor will unlikely want to risk his money. Alas, but the BMP is a hostage of the economic policy pursued by the authorities. It's all about the management system of our country.

- Will the REP Trade Union help workers in case of mass layoffs at the plant?

- Yes, of course. We are still working on the protection of those affected by the decree on "parasites". We are ready to welcome all 11 thousand BMP workers in our trade union and show how a trade union aimed at defending workers' rights should really work.

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