In the address to the people on March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the next week (from March 30 to April 5) to be a week off, with the condition that wages be fully maintained. Thus, it was decided to strengthen precautions against the spread of COVID-19. But, as it turned out, not all entrepreneurs approved of this idea. Within a day after the president’s initiative was announced, we received a lot of letters from our readers telling us how their employers reacted to the implementation of this decree.
For example, an employee of a large wholesale and retail network that sells electrical goods and household appliances, said bluntly:
“The employer does not intend to let anyone go for a week,there is no schedule change for us”.
Another letter came from a manager from a small printing industry:
“We have been partially closed. And I believe we only stopped working because there are no orders coming in, so they have nothing to pay us with. Nobody will save salary completely”.
There are many more letters that share the same message: either you keep working as usual, or you leave at your own expense.
The attitude of entrepreneurs towards the presidential initiative is shown not only by messages from workers who wish to remain anonymous. On Thursday, March 26, several large companies openly opposed the presidential initiative.
For example, Yandex and the DNS and M-Video networks, that later supported its initiative, stated that they would operate normally and, although they did not intend to violate the law, they would force employees to work on official weekends, asking them to support the business and remain in offices as volunteers. In fact, they are just to work and get paid, as always.
It can be assumed that many will agree with this state of things out of fear to lose their jobs in this difficult time.
The designer Artemy Lebedev, who published the answer to Putin in his Telegram channel, expressed the thoughts and feelings of entrepreneurs in the most vivid way:
“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! You have made a speech and promised everyone a paid “vacation” until April 5th.
You simply said so: “I declare the next week non-working, with the preservation of wages. That is, the time off will last from Saturday March 28 to Sunday April 5. “
… It is very cool that people will save their salaries. But where will I get money for it? Huh? Perhaps the state will compensate private companies their losses? How doesit work?
There is an infinite number of people who would like to be generous at my expense. But in this case, Vladimir Vladimirovich, we will continue to work as before, because design is not oil, we have no excess profit here. And a week of vacation, even at your request, threatens us with bankruptcy, and we would like to still be useful for the country a little bit longer.
Therefore, I have to say no”.
This statement shows the impracticability of such decrees under capitalism. Because any capitalist, no matter large or not, will first of all think about the safety of his capital. And then about everything else, even if “everything else” is the lives of employees, with the help of which they multiply the capital. And even if there are “super-profits”, there is no and cannot be a law in the bourgeois Russia that would force the masters to share those profits with the working people.
Such initiatives are unlikely to prevent the “powerful ones” from continuing the exploitation that is disastrous for the people.