Strikes at Enterprises Continue
On June 1, workers of a house-building factory in Vitebsk refused to start work until they were paid their salaries.
Despite the increase in average wages in the country and economic stability, the situation at two enterprises remains tense. A decline in the pace of wages growth and breach of payment schedule immediately leads to social protests.
In contrast to the field of international policy, where Belarus continues its policy of pendulum by selectively fulfilling the requirements of the West and the Kremlin, Belarus’ internal social policy needs to be firm and the authorities need to act accordingly. They need to raise wages and to comply with the schedule of payments. Otherwise, labor collectives immediately go on strike.
Such a scenario was used in 2011 several times; it repeated at the house-building factory in Vitebsk. The salary was only one day delayed, however approximately one hundred employees of one of the factory’s department refused to start work and demanded to pay their salaries at once.
It is expected that the country’s authorities will continue to fulfill their promises to raise wages and to comply with the schedule of payments. At present, it is the only way for the government to avoid social protests.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.