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Trade Unions Fight for "Maximum Wage" and Medvedev's Attention

Trade Unions Fight for "Maximum Wage" and Medvedev's Attention
Baranov Anatoly 22.04.2008

Tripartite commission on settlement of social - labour relations which consists of the government, employers and trade unions should come up with solutions which will allow to make minimum monthly wage up to a level of a living wage in all regions of Russia, elected president of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev considers.

"We understand that all regions have own opportunities. Our task consists in leveling of these opportunities to level, "to drag" opportunities of regions under those standards which today are provided in those perspective territories where there is high enough profitable base", - Medvedev said having on Monday the chapter of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Michael Shmakov as his visitor in the Kremlin.

It's so touching that elected president takes care of the problem which is not senior than the institute of the Russian presidency but has already had time to play itself out completely. Whole Michael Shmakov's and his promoted worker, the deputy of the State Duma Andrey Isaev's political careers are devoted to the obvious thesis that minimum wage should be higher than the living wage. For last 15 years nobody has been quarreling with them in it, really the thing's obvious but nevertheless the given question inherited by Putin from Yeltsin (and which he, certainly, promised to solve long time ago) has devolved to Меdvedev - and he's also quite optimistic.

Really, it's quite difficult to expect that someone starts making productive effects not receiving for it money enough to live physically up to the next salary. However, actually everything is vise versa. One and a half decades it's odifferent but still no use.

Why?

Really, during the time of galloping inflation the given question was extremely actual for broad masses of workers. However during that period minimum wages represented more likely an index, according to which almost everything was measured - starting from road penalties up to the salaries of high-ranking officials. But then it was already difficult for imagine that someone lived on minimum salary while for crossing of a solid strip it was necessary to pay 10 minimum monthly wages. Minimum wage was some kind of reflection of perverted "public contract" of that period when the largest properites were made on delays of salaries to the state employees - it was then when "authorized banks" in which budgetary money were kept made during a year two dollars out of one on the delays of salaries to the state employees in 4-6 months. On the other hand, citizens were accustomed to receive salary "under the table", leaving on surfaces something like the price of two portions of ice-cream. I.e. the budget was plundered but at that almost did not replenish. I shall remind that the budget of all the Russian Federation of that period made about 20 billion dollars.

So, poor became poorer, while due to the state budget "authorized" companies received means for privatization of state property "for money".

Naturally, requirements of official trade unions and their protege Isaev were pure populism which was not intended to be executed. Trade unions demanded something but somehow very peacefully - deputy posts and the same property became the result of the "struggle". It was allowed to the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia to inherit a significant part belonging to the Soviet All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions.

During Putin's time the question of rapprochement of minimum monthly wage and a living wage got other actuality - now there was no connection between the rights and interests of the workers. But, on a background of stabilization of prices, when everything began to be calculated in roubles and not in minimum monthly wages strongly underestimated salaries started influencing collection of taxes. Actually the "struggle" of the trade unions reduced, as a matter of fact, to the help to the state in the matter of legalization of salaries. The state plundered citizens and now decided to correct old "public contract" - today the growth of minimum monthly wages were demanded not by the workers but by fiscal bodies.

What for do they do it - is another question. What for does the Russian Federation increase profitable part of the budget if it does not know what to do with superincomes and is compelled "to sterilize" them in Stabilization Fund? Probably on a principle, so that people can't live without the state.

By the way, the last Duma already twice reported about full victory of "Putin's Plan" in the given question.

Why does the growth of minimum monthly wage today have no relation to real interests of workers?

According to Shmakov, Moscow and Moscow area are leaders in question of leveling of minimum monthly wage and a living wage. It's decided to raise minimum monthly wage up to 6800 roubles since May, 1st and up to 7500 roubles since September, 1st, he said.

Now we shall estimate, whether there is in Moscow at least one person really capable really to live on such minimum wage? A living wage is the same fictitious size as minimum monthly wage but it is not connected in any way either with real charges of citizens, or with real incomes. It's as in the reports of the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs "25-years old unemployed person on BMW of the latest model knocked down pedestrian near a casino". This is the way the showdowns with usage of cars between gangsters are described in the reports.

Precisely the same way real interests of workers correspond to minimum monthly wage and "living wage". In capital hypermarkets where prices are reduced due to cash-and-carry, the price of average purchase corresponds to minimum monthly wage, while these shops are attended daily by tens thousand people - we shall notice in cars who are not taken into account in "living wage" in general - in Moscow almost 5 million cars, one per two inhabitants - so, you can judge for yourself how really this "minimum" corresponds.

Chapter of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Shmakov at a meeting with the president noted that in opinion of trade unions "it's high time for Labour code starts working to the full, one of its clauses speaks that minimum monthly wage in the country cannot be lower than a living wage".

That is, actually, all about minimum monthly wage - the law accepted as a fruit of 15-years-long fruitless struggle of the official trade unions for unreal interests of workers simply does not work. We shall notice in those clauses where position of the workers particularly worsens in comparison with the Soviet Labour Code everything's working all right. While this norm - does not work...

That is there, where is an opportunity to collect taxes (Moscow, the Moscow area, etc.) minimum monthly wage has already overtaken with fictitious "living wage", there where it's still impossible - there "it does not work yet". It's approximately a half of the country.

At the present moment the miners in Severouralsk are starving. Among their requirements there is not a word about approaching of the fictitious minimum monthly wage to the same way fictitious "living wage". People do not want to go down under the ground and to work there hardly receiving "whole" 2 minimum monthly wages according to calculations of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia. What do they need for cares of Shmakov, Isaev and Co?

However, management of Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia loves workers back - there was nothing said in conversation with Меdvedev about starving miners...

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