New social contract raises costs for Belarusian population
While visiting the Grodno region last week, President Lukashenka said that citizens should seek jobs on their own, while the state would help them. The president has put several mutually contradicting tasks before the government, the National Bank and regional authorities: to ensure a USD 500 monthly wage (i.e. an increase by almost one-half) by the year-end, to ensure full employment by April 1st, and to ensure the Belarusian rouble stability and prevent its devaluation. The president finally defined the main purpose of the decree on social dependants as an ideological tool to ensure maximum employment while reducing people’s demands vis-a-vis the state. The authorities are likely to suspend layoffs at enterprises temporarily until the protest activity comes to a full stop, and provide low paid public works at the expense of local budget to all those looking for jobs. According to the authorities, high employment and financial prosecution of the unemployed would relax tension in society, discontent with current social and economic policies and would deprive street protests of a broad social base.
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.