Rumours about state apparatus staff cuts

April 22, 2016 18:29

State apparatus staff cuts did not resonate in the society. Discussions about future layoffs take place on the sidelines and do not go beyond the nomenclature environment. Firstly, this demonstrates that society exists in parallel to the government and that there is a gap between the state apparatus and society. Secondly, this demonstrates the lack of expectations from the public administrative reform by the population.

On April 12th Lukashenko signed a decree, envisaging reduction in the number of civil servants by 25%, or 13,617 people. The central government apparatus should be reduced by 25%, regional executive authorities by about 29%, and district executive committees by 17%. Thus, as a result of the reform, the number of civil servants will be reduced to 20 482 people. Layoffs should take place before July 1st, 2013.

The future number of employees after the layoffs, including government officials, local executive and administrative staff (excluding technical staff)

According to estimates by Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Scientific and Industrial Association Sergei Grits, as reported by Belarus 1 TV Channel, budgetary savings through reduced state apparatus could make up BYR 1 trillion. In fact, these layoffs were intended to address two specific objectives: 1) to increase the prestige of the public service at on the middle and lower levels and 2) to improve employees’ loyalty.

Region

Staff, including civil servants, local executive bodies

Total

Including Oblast level, Minsk city level and their subordinate structures

Brest Oblast

3072

432

Vitebsk Oblast

3061

449

Gomel Oblast

3263

510

Grodno Oblast

2932

432

Minsk Oblast

3727

496

Mogilev Oblast

3000

476

City of Minsk

1427

570

Oddly enough, the Belarusian state apparatus has considerably high staff turnover, especially among young professionals who are not satisfied with their salaries. For example, senior Head of Sports Department in a district executive committee earns an average BYR 3.7 million. The reform intends to save money and to raise civil servants’ pays to those who remain. Regarding increased loyalty, in some ministries, Interior Ministry for instance, the number of internal memoranda increased along with staff fears of losing their jobs. Servants report about even minor violations by their colleagues to their superiors. Such practices create nervous environment at work places but in the long run this measures may help to reduce corruption.

Public servants, who have worked in the civil service longer than 10 years, and have over 20 years of service, having the right to retire, are particularly vulnerable group. But, rumours say that first of all, layoffs will concern working pensioners, providing them with one-time payments under the guise of a one-time financial assistance.

Rumours say layoff-lists have already been prepared by the regional executive committees. Some committees and departments of the regional executive committee have received notifications about who they should lay off, but the information about these workers is kept secret, including other staff members.

People’s attitudes to the authorities’ initiative with state apparatus optimization demonstrate the growing distrust of the authorities. People anticipate that the reduced positions in the near future will be replaced with new positions, offered to the ‘right people’. It is likely that layoffs will not affect workers of ideological departments who work on strengthening the official state ideology in the regions, and therefore are perceived as “parasites”.