The outflow of professionals from the country is making itself felt.
Yesterday a gas-air mix explosion occurred at the Svetlahorsk Pulp and Paper Mill. The explosion happened during preventive and repair works in the turpentine evaporation shop. Three people died.
There was also a serious explosion with human casualties at the plant in 2020.
Why do such accidents occur? This and other questions of the Charter97.org website were answered by the leader of the Belarusian Association of Workers Siarhei Dyleuski:
- First of all it is carelessness of both the management and the employees, non-observance of safety regulations, outdated equipment with no means to maintain it. This all leads to such consequences. Such a picture is not only at the pulp mill, these problems exist at all the enterprises.
- Is it related to staff deterioration?
- Yes, it is related to the outflow of professionals from the country. We know the extent to which the number of qualified workers in Belarusian enterprises, both state-owned and private, has decreased. People are leaving the country, there's nobody left to work. Plus, the sanctions are taking their toll and there's simply no possibility to buy new components or spare parts for equipment.
- Should we expect more accidents of this kind in the future?
- Absolutely. Even if we compare the situation in 2019-2020 with 2021-2023, we see a rising trend in the number of workplace emergencies.
- Even official statistics recognises the increase in the number of the unemployed, with unemployment benefit amounting to two basic units (74 roubles a month) and the minimum wage in the country being 554 roubles. What can you say about these figures - are they enough for a decent life?
- Of course they are not enough. I already gave the most trivial, the simplest example: the people who are now in prison. The official figures say they spend 14 roubles a day on their upkeep. If you recalculate it per month, you get an amount close to the minimum wage. But you have to understand that a person sitting in prison does not have to pay for clothes, utilities, medicine, and so on. If we proceed from the minimum wage, then we equate a person to a prisoner, but he still has to pay for everything from that money. I believe that it is simply impossible to survive on such sums, let alone on unemployment benefits.
- Why does the current government claim to have some kind of socially-oriented policy, but in fact it looks more like abuse of the common people?
- This has been the tradition since Soviet times. For decades we have been taught that everything we have is given to us by the authorities, by the state, so that everyone feels dependent on this very state. We are lied about free medicine, free education, socially-oriented policy. But it is far from it. It is just one of the steps of the Belarusian propaganda aimed at making people feel dependent on the state all the time.