Privatisation from within

Issue 

Privatisation from within

SERGEI POROSHIN works at the Lenin Metallurgical Plant in Perm. He is a member of the trade union committee, and also of the Rabochy group.

Has the issue arisen of privatising the Lenin plant?

The factory has been declared a state enterprise, which means that it will remain the property of the ministry and will not be privatised. But within the factory small commercial structures are appearing, under which particular sections get autonomy. The creator of these structures is the management, which means that the leasing agreements set up are fictitious.

Has there been a fall in output?

The number of state orders has been reduced, but generally there are enough new orders. So far the question of unemployment remains hypothetical, because everyone needs steel. However, the wages are very low — 2500 roubles a month. The manager of the plant recently ordered an increase of 600 roubles for all workers, but this isn't genuine indexation. Despite this, there's no activity among the workers.

The council of the labour collective has practically ceased to exist, and the power of the factory manager is absolute. The trade union does as the manager tells it, because the trade union apparatchiks are linked to the management.

Have you tried to establish links with the labour collectives of other enterprises?

We've tried, but without any success. The only people who have links of this kind are the trade union apparatchiks.

What's happened to the former party structures in the factory?

Our former party committee is a part of the organising committee of the Russian Communist Workers Party. They're still holding together, preserving the structures; all the old cadres from the Brezhnev period are still there.