Today there are no carrots that the government handed out five years ago.
Since the beginning of 2020, they started to accrue salaries for the state employees under a new scheme. However, its implementation led to the opposite effect: the state employees began to receive less.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection receives daily 10-15 appeals from state employees in connection with improper payroll. And although the Ministry claims that the problem is not of a mass nature, but is caused by the human factor, we can safely say that the system crashed. This is a failure, which can cause global consequences for the country.
BelGazeta spoke with leader of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronics Industry Workers Henadz Fiadynich about the socio-economic well-being of the country, and its impact on the presidential campaign.
“No sympathy for officials - just pity for cows”
- What is the social well-being of the society on the eve of the presidential campaign?
- The social well-being of the country is determined by the well-being of citizens. Let's compare, take at least last year, how many people today visit the Kamarouski market in Minsk. One gets the impression that there are more sellers in the market than buyers. People are impoverished, money ends much earlier than the time of pay comes. This applies to pensions and salaries of workers and employees, regardless of the form of ownership of enterprises and organizations.
How can one live on a BYN 350-450 salary today? And what about collective farms and state farms? I would not be surprised if the milkmaids receiving BYN 150 (we have such facts) tomorrow will give the hell out of such a job. But I am not sorry for the collective farm chairmen, there is no sympathy for the officials - I feel sorry for the cows.
- A significant part of the society is made up of state employees. Since the new year, the state has changed the wage system for state employees, which, paradoxically, has led not to an increase, but to a decrease in wages. This fact was recognized by the Ministry of Labor. What went wrong?
- Before introducing a new system of remuneration of labor, each state institution should explain on the fingers to the people why this is being done and what they will have in the end. It seems that they traded bad for worse: those who received more began to receive more, those who received less remained with their own interests.
Of course, comparing January with December is not entirely correct (there are different payments in December), but people are dumbfounded by the result. State television claimed, officials convinced: everything is being done to simplify the salary system, and most importantly, to increase its interest by 15. Today, I can wish the state employees just one thing: do not be silent if you were deceived today, and not for the first time. Where is your honor, state employees, first of all, teachers: the children are looking at you! For how much longer will they boss you around?
Just look awhat teachers have turned into today! There are not enough competent teachers even in Minsk schools - hence the level of knowledge. Today, for a young man to enter a university it’s not enough to finish even a gymnasium, you need to hire a tutor. An uneducated person is a problem of any state, and Belarus is no exception.
- And yet, why did the increase in salaries promised to state employees turn into a decrease?
- All numbers were counted in the offices of officials, and not in the workplace. We had to go from the opposite - from jobs in the Ministry of Labor. And after that, make statements and take some kind of documents. In our country, as usual, everything comes down from above, and no one is interested in the opinions of local leaders, workers, doctors, nurses or teachers.
“The Labor Code has turned its back on the working people”
- How did the new Labor Code, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, influence the situation of the working people?
- Let's start with the good news. In the code, a concept such as the remote form of employment has appeared. This is a new phenomenon for Belarus, and today it is too early to judge how many remote workers appear in the country, whether their requests will be satisfied, whether they will receive a full social package. Everything turns out beautifully on paper, but there is no practice of applying the new norm.
The parliament simply copied everything else into the new Labor Code from decrees ##5 and 29, without taking into account the opinions of its voters. As a result, the Belarusian Labor Code was the worst in all post-Soviet countries, not to mention Europe. If earlier, under decree #5, workers could be notified of changes in essential working conditions seven days before they come into effect, now this “benefit” is extended in time for a whole month. But the contract bondage has not weakened: some employees, especially those who have been loaned for various reasons, are afraid of losing any job. This is a big problem. The Belarusian authorities, and first of all Lukashenka, did not understand that short-term contracts force people to emigrate in search of a better life.
The Labor Code has just begun to operate, the practice of its application has not yet been developed. Today it is obvious that it was not written for working people, but mainly for managers - as if only they create wealth, but not workers and employees, engineers and IT people. The Labor Code has turned its back on the working people thanks to these “legally elected” authorities.
One of the most striking examples is the organization “Ozertso Logistics” in the Minsk region, owned by Lukashenka’s Administrative Department. People, getting a job in the organization of the Administrative Department, hoped that it would make, if not an example of compliance with labor laws and respect for employees, then at least the conditions there should be no worse than at other state enterprises.
And what happens in practice? The main part of the salary is only 50%, the rest - supplements, surcharges, bonuses - are calculated basing on the personal decision of CEO of the enterprise Siarhei Dabryjan, which is written in black and white in the collective agreement. Heads of divisions submit memos to the director that employees deserve a bonus, and the amount of the bonus can be reduced with a stroke of the pen for no reason.
Employees ask themselves: how can they receive a bonus if the employer has not provided them with work? People do not refuse to work. But the bonus for professionalism, for complexity, for the intensity of work should be included in the contract - including the price of labor at which employees sell themselves to an employer.
I believe that the situation at “Ozertso-Logistic” is an example of direct mocking of employees. If there is a social partnership on paper, it should be implemented in practice: social partnership is either there or not.
“Everything can begin with discontent in families”
- According to the established political tradition, on the eve of each electoral campaign, the state appeals, or, in other words, buys people. What will Lukashenka offer his voters this time?
- The best gift for the people would be the voluntary leave of Lukashenka. Today there are no carrots that the government handed out five years ago. There are no oil dollars, there is no previous profit from the sale of potash fertilizers, which provided the biggest revenue to the budget. Large plants stop because they do not have enough working capital, they are over-credited by banks, they cannot repay debts, and ensure full workload of workers. Products are not sold either because of poor quality or because of the high price. Are people to blame for the situation? It is high time for the associations of employers of all levels to come together and raise the question: in this economic situation, they cannot effectively manage enterprises and organizations. With reforms in the country, they were late a long time ago. Why are investments not coming? Most enterprises do not use new technologies, there is no motivation to work. Of course, there should be different levels of salary, but everyone should not receive, but earn. And get the earned money on time. But for this it is necessary to create the appropriate conditions, which the Belarusian leadership has been successfully neglected for the past 25 years.
- How will people behave in the economic instability? Formally, in the so-called presidential election, everyone has the right to make their choice.
- People can express their opinions with ballots and with their feet. People do not believe that someone will fairly count their voices. Therefore, I think that the so-called presidential elections will be the same. The Belarusian people should not be underestimated. But their misfortune is that over the past 25 years they have lost solidarity within the work collective, among the tenants of the houses, solidarity with each other, the government deliberately separated people.
I believe that our people can and should unite. You just need to stop and think for a moment, not about your own family, but about your children and grandchildren: what country will we leave to them and why should they suffer, and not live happily?
- What can the worsening socio-economic situation lead to?
- It can all start with discontent in families: the insufficient wages for a decent life, which is already felt now, the disastrously low pensions that are not enough to buy normal medicines, normal food ... From families, these problems will be transferred to enterprises - this is an axiom. Unprofessionalism, incompetence and disregard for their citizens at all levels of government have already angered people. I am sure that there will be spontaneous strikes at enterprises and organizations. Local protests can develop into a nationwide discontent with the authorities.