News / 13.03.19

30 days and 30 nights at work – for salary about USD 100 a month

The violations like paying wages below the established floor salary and exploitation of workers are not a new phenomenon in Belarus. Given the absence of no other work in the countryside, agrarians are forced to work not only for themselves but also for those, whom collective farm bosses decided not to hire

"BYN 100, or 180 at the most," Vladimir Evkhuto, a member of the REP Trade Union from the Slonim District, told the "Belsat" about his earnings.

Vladimir worked as a livestock breeder in a farm in the village of Ostrovo, Slonim District; he for cows: fed and watered the animals, and cleaned manure away. Besides, he worked as a watchman there; sometimes, without days off.

"30 days and 30 nights at work; 300 hours a month – and I never got more than the floor salary," the man says.

Last December, the farm in Ostrovo was closed; and all the workers were transferred to another one, also belonging to the "Mizhevichi" Agrarian Company; however, there was no job there for Vladimir only – he was fired.

"You know, the collective farm needs no sober workers, who accurately perform their duties. They prefer boozers, who wouldn't mind wrongly accrued wages," says Danuta, Vladimir's wife.

"Are you complaining? Fired!"

Vladimir fell into disfavour with his farm bosses back in 2017, when he complained about low wages. Then, he was fired.

Officially, he was sacked for poorly performing his duties, which was allegedly confirmed by milkmaids' signatures, which were later presented at the court, where Vladimir turned to demanding his reinstatement.

"Even the Slonim Judge himself found that signatures were forged; and the milkmaids confirmed that at the trial," says Vladimir Evkhuto.

Now, after he was fired for the second time, Vladimir continues suing the collective farm bosses, trying to recover the unpaid wages and receive the due financial compensation for the vacation. He is the only worker in "Mizhevichi", who is defending his rights; however, many workers are dissatisfied with their wages they earn there.

"I get BYN 200 per month at most. What can I afford for this money? Just to pay utility bills and send my children to school," says Zhanna Kasperovich, a milkmaid at "Mizhevichi".

How to counter a dishonest employer?

Zhanna has been working as a milkmaid for 20 years. She is milking her cows from 6 a.m. till midday; then, she goes home; and from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., she should be at the farm again. The woman has no days off, and no way out – there's no other job in the village.

"The minimum (floor) salary has been officially established; currently, it makes over BYN 300. Naturally, a person who works full time and even more should not receive less," Igor Komlik, one of the leaders of the REP Trade Union, has commented.

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