Wage growth may prompt retail chains to revise their layoff policy
Average wage in Belarus in March 2017 grew by BYN 54 and reached BYN 770.6 (USD 407). Wages grew amid improvements on the consumer market: in March, retail trade turnover adjusted for inflation increased by 2.8% as compared with March 2016. Due to the strengthening of the national currency, consumer goods import is expected to grow, so as the average check in retail chains. Sales of non-food stuffs are likely to outgrow foodstuffs sales. The share of domestic goods is likely to decrease in the total trade. In Q1 2017 retailers laid off more than 4 000 people. Amid improvements on the consumer market, they could revise their staffing policy and somewhat reduce layoffs. Some retailers may even start hiring again.
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.