The regime has driven the enterprises to ruin.
Due to the inappropriate behavior of the authorities, the Belarusian industry faced unprecedented difficulties. The sanctions have led to the fact that their western partners refuse to work with our enterprises. The authorities cannot stop the outflow of highly qualified personnel from the leaders of the Belarusian industry. Low wages and abysmal working conditions only fuel workers' protest.
The website Charter97.org looked at the state of the flagships of the Belarusian industry.
Toxic BelAZ and record debts
For the first time, Western countries introduced sanctions against BelAZ on June 21, 2021. The European Union stated that the enterprise is a source of significant income for the Lukashenka regime and is responsible for the repression against civil society.
The consequences of the sanctions did not have to wait long, and a day after the introduction of restrictions, Rolls Royce Group announced the termination of relations with the Belarusian company. At that time, the British giant was the largest supplier of engines for BelAZ. After that, in August 2021, there were reports that the plant did not have enough engines and now workers were dismantling large dump trucks in order to assemble small ones from them.
Other companies also began to refuse to cooperate with BelAZ. The Union of Belarusians of Great Britain reported that four groups of companies at once stopped cooperation with the Zhodzina enterprise. Thus, Becker Group and its distributor Geramatic OY, Danfoss, Liebherr, Yokohama Rubber Company decided to refuse to work with the Belarusian company.
Over the past 10 years, the Belarusian enterprise has occupied from 20% to 30% of the world market for mining dump trucks. Belarus exported dump trucks almost all over the world, but it should be noted that up to 70% of BelAZ products were sold in the CIS.
The current situation at the enterprise does not inspire optimism, which indicates the possibility of freezing the enterprise due to the lack of orders. According to the latest data, the debts of the flagship are at a record level of 1.2 billion rubles. Many experts say that such a situation threatens with even greater debts, as well as massive reductions in the future.
Belaruskali on the verge of collapse
At one time, Belaruskali was called the main supplier of currency for the Lukashenka regime, so it is not surprising that the European Union decided to include it in the fourth package of sanctions. On August 9, the US Treasury Department initiated a major package of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime. This list also includes the potash fertilizers sector. On the same day, Canada and the UK also imposed sanctions against the Salihorsk enterprise. Many foreign firms refuse to cooperate with the enterprise because they are afraid of falling under secondary sanctions.
The Belaruskali strike committee said that the leadership is trying with all its might to fulfill the obligations under the contracts before the start of the US sanctions - December 8, 2021, and get the most out of worn-out equipment; how much it will last is a mystery, because the supply of spare parts is extremely limited.
Also, various media outlets report that the enterprise has not paid the contractors for the second month. People say that this has not happened in Salihorsk since 1996.
Working conditions, as well as the state of the enterprise itself, according to workers, fell dramatically. The injury rate is only growing. Over the past 10 years, it became known about nine deaths at the plant. Workers attribute this to heavily worn-out equipment, as well as by the reduction of support staff, so some have to work for two or three weeks with one day off.
Some leaders are outraged by the state of affairs and say in plain text that Lukashenka is leading the enterprise to collapse.
The explosive situation at Hrodna Azot
In April 2021, the United States resumed sanctions against Hrodna Azot, and on August 9, 2021, the general director of the plant, Ihar Liashenka, was added to the list of specially designated citizens and blocked persons.
The plant ended last year with a loss of 85 million rubles.
The plant owes 453 million rubles in short-term loans, which is 93 million less than in 2019. The plant owes 189 million rubles in long-term loans, the amount increased by 30 million over the year.
Due to mass layoffs of specialists, there is a shortage of qualified employees at the enterprise, which leads to constant industrial accidents.
Sometimes really dangerous emergencies occur at the plant, which can develop into man-made disasters. The strike committee of the plant reported an accident on a pipeline with an explosive mixture, but the plant management did not stop production. Under pressure from the independent media, the accident was officially acknowledged.
Factory workers are extremely dissatisfied with the difficult working conditions, the rude attitude of the management, the dismissal of qualified personnel, and the reduction in wages. Protest moods are heating up, a strike is brewing.
MTZ lives in debt
Warehouses filled with MTZ tractors have become a real meme in Belarus. It should be noted that the net profit of the Minsk Tractor Plant fell 12 times over the past year. As of March 31 of this year, the plant owes 835 million rubles for short-term loans and 416 million for long-term loans. A year ago, there were tens of millions more debts.
Not surprisingly, the once-leading enterprise is in such a deplorable state today. The equipment at the plant is outdated. Here is what a former MTZ worker, leader of the Belarusian Workers' Association Siarhei Dyleuski said:
- I worked on a relatively new line. The line was installed, if I'm not mistaken, in 2012 or 2013. The line was bought from the Germans. They came and installed it. They did everything up to flooring, vibration isolation, etc. We did one section. It's been at least 7-8 years, the tractor factory considers this line as new, groundbreaking. This is the new line, they still take tours there to show that we are doing well.
By the way, I was in Poland at the Somash plant (they produce units for tractors: buckets, plows, mowers), an analog of the Smarhon Aggregate Plant. I saw my native machines, one might say, the equipment with which I worked in Minsk, which I know. I came up and said: “Cool, new equipment. I worked on this in Minsk."
An engineer from this site says: "This is not new, we are planning to change it this year, this equipment is obsolete." What then can be said about innovation?
MTZ is experiencing a serious shortage of personnel. In particular, the existing workers of the tractor plant were promised a bonus for help in hiring new workers. However, there is a condition: during the first six months of work, the new employee must not have disciplinary action.
In the summer, production at the Tractor Plant partially stopped: they could not get frozen metal from one of the furnaces, and they could not bring coke to the plant (one of the most important elements for the steel industry).
The Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, where workers sent three letters to Lukashenka in the summer of 2020, is also going through hard times.
The plant's net profit for the last year was 7.1 million rubles; a year earlier, the profit was 3.1 times higher. Over the year, the plant's staff decreased by 307 people.
In short-term loans, the plant owes 101 million rubles (a year ago, it was 108 million), in long-term loans - 5.3 million (a year ago, it was 9.2 million).
There are reports that, due to the low workload, MZKT begins to assemble tolling kits for MAZ buses.
Due to the inadequate actions of the authorities, the unique enterprise began to turn into an assembly production.
BMZ is actually bankrupt
Zhlobin Metallurgical Plant is in real problems. In fact, the company is bankrupt. It turned out that money from the gold and foreign exchange reserve was allocated to support it.
The plant owes 3.8 billion rubles for short-term loans, which is one billion more than a year earlier. The plant owes another 1.2 billion in long-term loans, which is 164 million more than a year earlier.
As workers reported, the management of the enterprise even borrows money for salaries for employees.
During the year, the number of employees at the plant decreased by 277 people. Because professional staff left the company, the plant is also constantly experiencing emergencies. One of the steelmaking furnaces was shut down this spring.
Sanctions smeared MAZ
The Minsk Automobile Plant is also seriously affected by Western sanctions. They just don't want to work with a toxic enterprise. For example, Ukrainian Lviv and Mykolaiv refused Belarusian buses, announcing new tenders for the purchase of buses for the city.
In short-term loans, the plant owes more than 1 billion rubles; in 2019, it was 342 million less. The plant owes 487 million in long-term loans, which is 34 million more than at the end of 2019.
“People there [at MAZ - approx. ed.] already feel the sanctions in production; the workforce is not enough because people were fired for participating in marches and having civic positions - out of 50 young specialists, 19 remained.
The level of income is really falling - there is no money, it is not critical yet but noticeable,” say the employees of the enterprise.