Belarusian SMEs to continue resistance until compromise is reached
On February 15th, private entrepreneurs and opposition leaders held a joint action in Minsk, which gathered scores of people and was the largest in the past year. The action took place on the October Square and was attended by about a thousand people. The organizers and participants expressed their intention to hold such actions every Monday, until the authorities agree to concessions. Meanwhile, the rally on February 22nd is unlikely to be as successful as one on February 15th. Firstly, because Minsk SMEs and SMEs in the regions are not equally interested in the outcome of negotiations with the government - regional SMEs would be more affected by the intransigence of the government. Secondly, because sharp political demands put forward by the opposition during the action are off-putting for SMEs. SMEs’ future protests are likely to shift to regional and district centres and are likely to continue until a compromise with the government is reached.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.