Strikes staged according to previous scenario
The authorities have found and effectively use the method of social discontent repayment: comply with the workers and increase wages. With this, enterprise management prevents self-organization of workers in independent trade unions, exerting point pressure on the activists.
According to independent media, workers of one of the assembly sites of the Borisov Plant of Automobile and Tractor Electrical Equipment stopped work for a few hours and demanded higher wages on February 13. The company’s management has promised to increase salaries by 20% on February 16.
Short-term workers’ strikes in 2012 did not differ from the strikes of autumn 2011. Observations show that the workers begin to protest, if the salary is at BYR 1.2 million and below, and the beginning of strikes coincides with the days of salary payments or prepayments. For its part, the authorities are going to meet the protesters and raise wages by 15-20%.
In this case, the authorities carefully monitor the self-organization of workers in independent trade unions and seek to prevent such attempts. Since February 16, the leader of independent trade union cell, established in 2011 at the enterprise \"Granit\", O. Stahaevich was fired, and the formation of the union of the cell stopped at the stage of obtaining a legal address.
However, a strike at such a large enterprise, as BATE, means that the authorities are not coping with the monitoring of the situation with salaries in the industry. According to the information in the independent media that is not confirmed officially, enterprises \"Atlant\" in Baranovichi, as well as \"Polesie\" in Pinsk are in pre-strike conditions because of low wages
The Belarusian authorities are attempting to strengthen some elements of the ‘Soviet’ education to ensure the ideological loyalty of new generations to the state. Most likely, one of the major tasks of the educational reform is to prevent growing discontent with the existing education system among the population. The educational reform aims to strengthen centralisation and adjust the system to the needs of the public sector.
In Belarus, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Economy would determine the university enrolment figures.
The Belarusian authorities do not seem to have a long-term vision of the educational reform. The education system changes depending on who leads the Education Ministry and has access to President Lukashenka. For instance, former head of pro-government communist party and Education Minister Igor Karpenko reintroduced some "Soviet" elements to the school and strengthened ideological components along with the de-politicisation of the curricula. Current generation of students and youth have not spoken against the authorities, unlike previous generations raised during the Gorbachev thaw and socio-political transformations of the 1990s.
In addition, the Belarusian authorities are attempting to adopt measures aiming to prevent discontent among the population with the Belarusian education system. The authorities are mobilizing those nostalgic for the USSR and propose to return to 5-marks grading system, school uniforms and reduced curriculum. The Belarusian leadership also aims to blur the growing social stratification in society and to relax social tension due to the growing income gap between the richest and poorest.
Should the authorities adopt plans to reduce university enrolment, they would re-certify universities in order to close some of them and would reduce competition from private educational institutions. The Belarusian leadership is attempting to adjust the education system to the needs of the real economy, to reduce pressure on the labour market and to cut government spending on higher education for specialists low in demand by replacing them with graduates of secondary vocational schools requiring less time to train.