Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

First strikes begin


Workers of a construction company in Vitsebsk refused to work for one day due to low wages.

Belsat TV channel learnt this from a Vitsebsk resident, who did not say his name.

"Zhilproekt company cuts its staff – mainly young people and pensioners. A part of personnel is offered to work half-day. No work, no money – bosses explain the situation. Construction works in new city districts has been stopped. Wages do not grow causing people to resent and refuse to work extra hours," the source said.

The man works at Belwest footwear company, which administration also violates the labour legislation. "We are made to work on weekend, though labour contracts do not require it. If you refuse, they will not pay bonuses to you and will not prolong the contract. I fulfill my plan 130%, but I have never received more than 900,000 rubles," the man says. "Protest moods increase among workers, but people still fear to express their claims to officials", he thinks.

Alyaksandr Yarashuk, the head of the independent trade union of radio-electronic industry, explains that the authorities did everything to scare people. "We carry out opinion polls at all big enterprises in the country. Workers' main fears are political repressions and a possibility of terminating a labour contract."

The experts also turns attention that the authorities take psychological measures to decrease social discontent. "It was announced that the first class rate would be increased. It was promised to pay a one-time 500,000-ruble allowance to public sector workers and increase pensions and scholarships for students. It is clear that these steps will not change the financial situation, this increase will eaten by the inflation rate, but this measure can reduce protest moods, because the state has provided a purposeful course to bring up workers who do not thing about prospects."

Yarashuk thinks that grass-roots protests among workers are possible. "It's hard to forecast, but social tension has reached the limit when people can quarrel in queues for sausages and a real rebellion can break out," he is convinced.