People do not have enough wages to survive even for a month.
How has the war of Russia against Ukraine affected the Belarusian enterprises and how do the actions of the authorities in the new situation affect the mood of the workers?
The leader of the Belarusian Association of Workers, Siarhei Dyleuski, told Charter97.org about it:
- Well, let me put it this way - the entire Belarusian industry has suffered from the military actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. After the sanctions were imposed against Lukashenka's regime, both the supply of components and the normal trade turnover stopped. We can also say that the usual sale markets have left us. In other words, the few European markets that used to exist are now gone. That is why all industries have been affected.
- How has this situation affected the workers?
- Workers are primarily affected by falling wages. The working conditions, which were already sad after the events of 2020, when people were fired en masse for nothing, just for their activism, have deteriorated even more.
Workers have been put under additional strain, roughly speaking, they were already working hard enough for two, and now the wages are falling as well. And on top of that the prices of food, necessities of life and everything else are going up all the time. The real incomes of workers have fallen by perhaps half.
- In March, BOR reported that workers were summoned en masse to the military enlistment office. How did the workers react to that?
- Unfortunately, often not in the way they should have reacted. In other words, people went and registered there. It is clear that the law requires them to respond. If the summons came, according to the law people are obliged to go. But a negative impression was left in any case. Because no one wants to go and die, God forbid, for unknown reasons. Nobody wants to take part in a war which was started by two insane dictators.
- And what could one do if a summons came?
- If nothing else, one could sabotage the whole process. Because they often summoned to military registration and enlistment offices people who were no longer of conscription age. They also summoned people who had fulfilled their duty to their Motherland, to their country, who had already served. And in principle, one could just sabotage all these actions, ignore, refuse.
- What was the purpose of these events organised by the regime?
- Most likely, it seems to me, with the aim of intimidating the population. As we have been engaged in a real civil war in Belarus for two years now. There are no other words for it. The underground partisan resistance to the regime is going on.
And secondly, I believe that the Belarusian leadership has no idea of its real military potential. That's what this "roll-call" was all about: what do we actually have?
- Recently Lukashists have liquidated the primary branch of the Hrodna Azot independent trade union. How dangerous for the regime are workers' protests?
- The regime would not act this way if workers' protests were not dangerous for it. First of all, the liquidation of the primary trade union organisations, the pressure on the trade unions, and the arrests of the leaders of trade union movements show the fear of the authorities.
However, such actions by the authorities have the opposite effect, they anger the workers even more. The level of discontent is rising and the boiling point is coming, if not today, then tomorrow.
- A couple of days ago there were strikes in the branches of the Minsk Dairy Plant. What does it mean and what can become a trigger for more massive protests of workers?
- People have nothing to eat, their wages are not enough to survive even for a month.
And I was even more astonished by this company's answer to why the people had come out. Allegedly there was a "fault in the program", so the people were underpaid.
But the women in the video, which has already gone viral on the internet, openly state that their salaries have been falling for months in a row. This shows that people simply have nothing to eat.
And in the long run, this can lead to such a snowball effect that it will sweep through all the enterprises. That is because the dairy industry is not the only industry where things are so sad.