The last industrial enterprise in Sretensk scrapped for recycling

2021-10-19

According to the decision made by the bankruptcy administrator of the Sretensky shipyard, the workers were dismissed, the structures and equipment are to be sold as scrap. Deputy Prime Minister of TransBaikalia – Alexander Bardaleev, promised to organise employment for all 73 workers who have lost their jobs. However, it does not specify where and in
the capacity of whom. In 1983, 32 industrial enterprises operating in the city of Sretensk. The shipyard was the last one. Salary debts are planned to be paid out after the sale of the company’s property.

The factory was founded in 1935. Over the years, more than 800 vessels of various classes and purposes have been produced for the Amur River Shipping Company, the Amur Flotilla, fishing enterprises of the Far East and border troops. In the 2010s, the plant’s utilization dropped to less than 15% of capacity and in 2017 the shipbuilders were forced to manufacture chairs for the town “cultural centres”. The total debt of the bankrupt plant is 244 million rubles. Since 2005, there have been four attempts to declare the company insolvent.

“The enterprise, at its peak (the end of the 80s – 90s) employed more than a thousand people. Over the years, this number has decreased and now the remaining 73 employees have been laid off. At this stage, we are collecting information on the level of qualifications, experience, length of service of all dismissed employees. In the future, we will make a decision regarding employment for workers both on the territory of the Sretensky region
and on the neighbouring regions close Sretensky.” – the Chita.ru portal quotes Alexander Bardaleev.

Medium-duty fishing vessel dubbed “Primor’ye”, project #13020. From the local archives.

Employees and simply indifferent locals tried to fight for the preservation of the plant, sending letters and appeals to the authorities and the Ministry of Economic Development of the region even looked for investors to preserve the enterprise. Unfortunately, all these attempts were unsuccessful.

Sretensky Shipbuilding is not the first and neither the last in a long line of “market-optimized” enterprises. It is not the first and not the last time that people choose letters and appeals to the authorities as the only means of struggle to preserve jobs. The result of such a struggle has long been known – the owner will do as it suits him, i.e. will spit on the needs of their workers and “with a feeling of deep sorrow” will throw them out into the street.

Even if the regional authorities were to fulfil their promises and employ the laid-off workers, “taking into account their qualifications and work experience,” their life will definitely become less comfortable. Now they will have to at least spend extra time and money on travel to their new jobs, which will most likely be in a nearby region. Indeed, judging by the words of A. Bardaleev, workers have practically no chances to get a job in their hometowns. We doubt that there are “confidently breathing” factories in the district at all.

Naturally, even such decisive measures as strikes do not guarantee the victory of the working people. The power of the owners is too strong.
However, mass organisation and widespread coverage of the conflict in all available media outlets significantly increase the chances of success.
All employees need to understand this. Not uniting in a timely manner, when there are still enough of them to set conditions for the owners, the workers actually doom themselves to cut wages and the subsequent loss of jobs.

We hope that the former employees of the Sretensky shipyard and other hired workers will draw conclusions from this sad story.