News / 11.04.14

Driller writes to Lukashenko to reject the "shameful" unemployment allowance

"You better leave this trifle sum for yourself, or just buy a windshield wiper for your Maybach car," the worker wrote to the president. Alexander Konovalov was fired after asking his bosses from the administration why his premium was reduced.

Eighteen months ago, the labour contract was not extended with Alexander Konovalov, an operator of the drilling rig at the Svetlogorsk Department of Drilling Works (known as SUBR) of the Republic's Unitary Enterprise (RUE) "Belorusneft Production Association", who lives in the city of Mozyr. The worker told his story to the

"Alexander, what was the start of your problems?"

"The questions I asked about the premium and increase of wages. Namely, why are we, workers, jumping, running or even crawling with the aim to cope with the plan, but still can't fulfil it? Accordingly, they underpaid our premium, etc. The plan was just impossibly high, even the foreman was indignant about it."

"I asked the managers in writing just to explain what prevented us from managing the plan, and thus receive 100% of the premium. And why it so happened that they raised wages by 20%, but in fact they became smaller?"

"I signed the paper alone, because I understood what the end could be, and that they can sack a few more people. I was just tired of the constant deception on the part of the bosses, when they used us as free labour, blatantly violating safety rules – as if our life was just a handful of dust!"

Alexander Konovalov is on the right in the photo

"What was the answer that you received?"

"The non-extension of my contract was the actual answer."

"The foreman convoked a meeting of two shift teams (a team consists of 7 workers) – of my team and another one that was at work. He said that I had raised proper issues, and he himself did not understand the origin of such high norms, and he also told about it to the bosses. He said that at the general meeting they should not keep silent and support me; then, maybe, something would happen."

"Bosses held a meeting on my appeal. The foreman tried to explain to them that the rates were unrealistic. The bosses agreed, saying that their check showed that we were working well; and they had no claims to us. But when the workers began asking about bonuses and salaries, they argued like the following: 30% of the premium is 100% of the premium; and the wages was not increased – it was optimized. And in general, the rates were established not by them; and nobody would ever deal with all that stuff."

"After my questions at the meeting (what the reason was that we could not cope with the rates, etc.), the administration draw up the minutes of the meeting reading:

"The actions and behaviour of Konovalov, A. A., should be qualified as significant barriers to setting up the healthy and constructive microclimate in the team, and to the formation of the efficient productive atmosphere."

"I was outraged and began asking why safety regulations were violated. Why often 4-5 persons worked in the team instead of 7? Why had drilling rig operators to work as driller assistants? It's very trauma-threatening."

"As a result, I was promptly sent to vacations; and a week later I received a notification of non-renewal of my labour contract."

"Were you a union member? Have you turned there for support?"

"I was a member of the 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' (the Belarusian trade union of the workers of the chemical, mining and oil industries). After receiving the above notification, I deliberately did not go home to Mozyr, but stayed until the evening in order to talk to the trade union committee. I came to the chairwoman, but I couldn't even open my mouth, she began talking: 'I'm busy, you know, New Year gifts are here to distribute, and generally I have to go. I said that I could come later, but she offered to ask all the questions in writing."

"Later, I appealed to the union and its chair repeatedly, but the answer was always the same: there were no violations. I received no legal aid from them, no normal consultation – nothing. That's all the help from the trade union."

Let us add here that the bosses of the Svetlogorsk SUBR categorically refused to comment on the conflict.

According to the dismissed worker, he sent about 50 complaints and appeals to various authorities (Labour Inspectorate, Ministry of Social Protection, etc.), but all in vain.

On April 8, Alexander Konovalov sent a letter to the president of Belarus, in which he refused to receive the "shameful" unemployment allowance. In the letter he described the recent informal invitation to the City Executive Committee:

"As I understand, it was done under the order of the Council of Ministers, supposedly, in order to help me find a job... I don't refuse to look for employment. However, the job should be at least approximately at the level of the wages received by petroleum workers, that is, at least 9 million roubles. But instead, I was offered a salary of 3 million roubles. And then, they sent me to some factory with pre-war machine tools, from where workers prefer to quit; and I was offered the work, which does not correspond to my specialty," the worker wrote, in particular. "And you, Alexander Grigorievich, didn't you try to develop the country's economy, for them not to say at the employment centre that 3 million roubles per month is A VERY GOOD SALARY???!!!"

In his appeal to the president, Alexander Konovalov quoted the vacancies available at the employment centre as of on March 28, 2014, and accompanied them with the words: "Read, Alexander Grigorievich, just to expand your outlook; since under the state care at our expense, you, probably, have no time to deal with us, 'tramps'."

Nurse – 1.78 million roubles (of monthly salary = about 130 euros).

Locksmith of car repairs – 1.87 million roubles.

Head of physical training – 1.66 million roubles.

Foreman for production training at educational institution – 1.75 million roubles.

Cook – 2 million roubles.

Educator's assistant – 1.66 million roubles.

Software engineer – 1.66 million roubles.

Power engineer – 1.8 million roubles.

Carpenter, turner – 1.66 million roubles.

Teacher-psychologist – 1.8 million roubles.

The worker wrote to the president that he refused to receive the unemployment allowance:

"I reject your 'charity' – this shameful unemployment allowance amounting to 150,000 roubles. You better leave this trifle sum for yourself, or just buy a windshield wiper for your Maybach car; they say it is worth 500,000 euros. Although it may be not enough even for a wiper; well, I 'm sorry, but this is the allowance that we get."

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