Russian construction business misses deadlines but does not hire Russian workers

The coronavirus epidemic entailed a ban on the entry of foreigners into Russia. A significant part of them are migrant workers who are engaged in many areas of services and production, especially at construction sites. A possible shortage of builders could be a serious problem for the industry. It would seem that there is a way out – to actively attract the Russian labour force. But Russian capitalist developers complain about the high cost of local workers. They prefer to break deadlines and beg for help from the state, but they will not hire Russian builders. That’s all you need to know about Russian patriotism.

Work migrants at Russian construction sites
Work migrants at Russian construction sites

By order of the government of the Russian Federation, a ban on the entry of foreigners was introduced from March 18 to May 1, 2020. This also applies to registration of work permits. The current situation will hit the construction business. According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2019, 1.8 million migrants worked at Russian construction sites, and this is only the number of “officially” registered workers. Many employers still pay in “black cash” and hire without registration. The eloquent figure also speaks of the role of migrant workers in construction: it is for contractor businesses that the largest quota for the share of foreigners in the company’s staff is set at 80%.

Dmitry Kotrovsky, the head of the “Opora Rossii” construction committee, admits that with a long ban on entering the country, many migrant workers can go to other construction sites, and this will create a shortage of labor. But attracting Russian workers instead is too expensive:

“Due to contributions to the social insurance fund and the pension fund, instead of paying a patent, Russian workers will cost the developer 20–25%, and sometimes 30% more”.

In fact, migrant workers are easier to fool, taking advantage of their ignorance of Russian law, it is easier to impose on them enslaving working conditions, easier to intimidate them, easier to save on safety and other inalienable rights of every worker. Therefore, capitalists prefer to deal migrants.

Work migrants at Russian construction sites
Work migrants at Russian construction sites

In addition, empoyers complain about the low qualification of Russian workers. For example, Igor Kozeltsev, General Director of the “Razvitie” Company, states:

“Domestic labor costs significantly more. At the same time, unfortunately, the experience in building facilities for the Sochi Olympics demonstrates rather the negative effect of the use of labor mainly within the country, both in terms of production and in terms of deadlines and quality”.

Perhaps it’s not the laziness of the Russian workers that is to blame, but the mediocre organization of the “Olympic” construction, embezzlement and bribery cases, violations of industrial standards and safety precautions? Indeed, even in large cities and in the suburbs, builders are faced with lawlessness. We are unlikely to get comments on this topic from the capitalists … But even if we agree with the thesis about the low qualification of Russian builders, then who is to blame? The vocational training system in Russia has long been ruined by the forces of the capitalists themselves.

In other words, the Russian bourgeoisie once again demonstrates that it does not care about the country or the people; they does not want to invest in Russia, their main goal is to have a consistently high profit.

Work migrants at Russian construction sites
Work migrants at Russian construction sites

Therefore, instead of long-term investments in the Russian labor force, the construction business prefers to beg for help from the state. The president of the FSK group of companies, Vladimir Voronin, invites the government to be condescending to the failure to meet the deadlines for construction, because of force majeure. General Director of VSN Invest Denis Volkovich believes that the state should keep the interest rates on loans for the construction business unchanged and support affiliated banks.

The state owes capitalists. But no one owes anything to the Russian workers: neither capitalists, nor the state. This is the flip side of the patriotic speeches of the oligarchs, officials and their television propagandists.

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