Lukashenko demands higher wages for workers
“We still have to reach the level of 500 dollars by the end of the year, as we have agreed. That’s why managers not only have to be aware of this today, but urged. But many lift up their hands in dismay: well, there’s no productivity, no salary. So why do we need this manager in this place?” noted the President.
The statement by Lukashenko aims to lower social tensions within Belarusian society and limit the outflow of qualified labor force abroad, primarily to Russia.
According to our estimates, around 105,000 people (on net basis) went abroad to work in January 2011 – March 2012. The current level of wages in Belarus is one of the lowest in the region. According to Belstat (Belarusian Statistics Committee), the nominal calculated wages of workers in March 2012 came to USD387.3, which roughly corresponds with the average rate of May-June 2010 (see figure 1).
Figure 1. The dynamics of average wages in the economy and the public sphere, December 2005 – March 2012.(USD).
Compare: the average calculated wages in Ukraine came to USD365.5 (data for March 2012), in Kazakhstan – USD622.8 (February 2012), in Lithuania - USD849 (the fourth quarter of 2011), in Latvia – USD873 (the fourth quarter of 2011), in Russia – USD901.4 (March 2012), in Poland – USD1188.5 (data on the business sector for March 2012).
At the same time, the further growth of workers’ wages against the background of a possible deterioration of the foreign economic situation, increasing payments on the external debt and lowering interest rates on ruble instruments may cause the change of currency preferences in favor of foreign currency and the intensification of devaluation risks in the economy.