Pay rises for Belarusian public sector employees due to layoffs
According to the Council of Ministers decision No 300 of April 12th, 2016, Belarusian public sector employees’ wages would increase if enterprises ‘optimize the structure and number of their employees’. In 2016, wages in public sector should have grown within the inflation level. In 2015, public sector was one of the largest vacancy generators. The number of vacancies in the public sector is expected to reduce and amid shortage of jobs, laid off workers would add to the number of unemployed. In the regions, where the proportion of public sector is significant, retail trade turnover may reduce. Amid budget deficit, layoffs are unlikely to lead to a significant increase in wages of public sector employees, so as the bulk of the saved funds from the ‘optimization of resources’ will be spent on funding state programmes.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.