Combined harvesters vs paddy wagons.
The grain harvesting campaign ended last month. As is customary in any dystopia, spurious productivity becomes one of the main topics of the evening news, where presenters proudly announce sky-high numbers that no one ever remembers. The tonnage of this year, last year, five years ago — it doesn't matter. The numbers are easily varied, and those that are convenient to voice at the moment are presented to the public.
They do not forget to tell in the news about the "highest" salaries that combine operators allegedly receive, but when you talk to workers, you realize that hellish labor in the field should be valued much higher.
On average, a Belarusian harvester receives more than 2,000 rubles during the harvest period — as elsewhere, payments depend on the length of service and the average harvest per day. Hearing such news from a propaganda channel, one might get the impression that there are good salaries in agriculture and, it seems, the standard of living should be better, but in the end we have a 15-hour working day and almost twice the monthly overwork. Added to this is the unbearable heat, which is an inevitable condition of work.
The fact is also forgotten that the workers have such wages only during the harvesting campaign. That is, during this time, it is in the interests of workers to earn at piecework wages for almost the entire remaining year, because the salary outside the harvesting campaigns is only 400 rubles before tax.
This year, workers have also faced the consequences of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime. The fact is that the "Belarusian" combines of the latest models began mainly with Western details. For example: in the models GS12, GS10 and newer, that enjoy the biggest popularity in the Belarusian fields, American Cummins engines and, accordingly, all Western control systems, from the on-board computer to control joysticks, are installed. Even the lubrication systems in the range of combines belong to the German company ALS Schmiertechnik GmbH & Co.KG. In the event of a breakdown, now these spare parts cannot be replaced, and equipment wear is simply inevitable given the overload of both machines and man-hours. Therefore, they took care of the combines like the apple of their eye, and often even resorted to using older models so as not to wear out the new ones.
Belarusian harvesting campaigns are an unprecedented violation of working hours, working conditions, and wages. Combine operators who receive a decent salary only once a year, and the rest of the time are forced to wander in search of a part-time job, may be in the forefront of future protests in Belarus, which will certainly begin. The Belarusian protest may be replenished with another outstanding case: a combine harvester against a paddy wagon. And here you can safely bet on a powerful car driven by a real brave Belarusian.
Artsiom Chernikau, exclusively for the Basta! Telegram channel