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Authorities Decide To 'Mobilise' Pensioners To Belarusian Enterprises

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Authorities Decide To 'Mobilise' Pensioners To Belarusian Enterprises

Will it help the economy?

A desperate situation requires desperate measures. And the staffing situation in the country has apparently become really desperate. Otherwise the idea of putting those who have taken a well-deserved holiday back to work wouldn't have come up. But even the most patriotic pensioners are unlikely to help in solving the problem of staff shortage, writes the Belarusians and Market.

"Today we have to talk not about the quality of personnel training, but about their widespread shortage. Especially workers," said Aliaksandr Lukashenka at a meeting on the problems of industry.

The deficit is indeed widespread. It's not only IT specialists and doctors. The shortage of staff at factories has reached such a scale that it threatens the plans of economic growth. MAZ lacks 2.5 thousand workers, MTZ - 2.2 thousand. Atlant needs more than five hundred people, and the Minsk Bearing Plant - more than six hundred. The manufacturing industry alone is short of 27 thousand people.

And on the whole in the country, we can probably talk about the deficit of not tens, but hundreds of thousands of people. According to unofficial estimates of the Belarusian Interior Ministry, about 350 thousand Belarusians left the country by the beginning of autumn last year. According to the official estimates of the local authorities, at the beginning of the year there were about 300 thousand Belarusians in Poland, and more than 60 thousand - in Lithuania.

It is not surprising that the Belarusian economy lacks labour force. At the beginning of the year, the number of employed in Belarus fell to a record low of 4.14 million people.

And it's not surprising that the authorities are trying to think of some way to solve this problem. So far, nothing has helped. Neither the idea of extending the terms of compulsory working off for graduates, nor the threat to deprive doctors of their diplomas for working not in their speciality. The proposal to put those who have taken a well-deserved holiday back to work is perhaps the most original of these ideas.

"Maybe it's time for the government to think about attracting those who have left. The pensioners, for example. There are many active, willing to work people among them," Lukashenka said.

There are indeed a lot of pensioners in Belarus. At the end of last year, about two million people were receiving retirement pensions. But the idea to bring them back to the machine is unlikely to work.

And not even because there is nothing to lure them. It's just that those pensioners who can and want to work, they are working anyway. Without waiting for a special invitation. And again, as of the end of last year, 400 thousand Belarusian pensioners, that is, one fifth of the total number, were working. And the rest can't be lured by any special invitations anyway. The authorities themselves realise this and do not count on a massive influx of pensioners into the economy.

"We may not be able to attract 30 thousand people, but we'll find several thousand patriotically-minded people, whom we can call to work," said Lukashenka.

A few thousand people, perhaps, can be found. But a few thousand patriotically-minded pensioners will at best solve personnel problems at MAZ and MTZ. And what will the rest of them do? No pensioners will be enough to replace hundreds of thousands of those who have left the country.

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