Modern working life is like in Russia?

The working class.  Illustration: perunica.ruCurrently, the situation of the working class in capitalist Russia very poorly lit, including the left and the press. This is largely due to the fact that in both capitals, industrial production is declining. However, materials of the working of the provincial plants also nobody publishes. In this regard, it is important to give a brief description of the work, some of the features of psychology and attitude to his own work on the example of the modern working of any industrial enterprise. For this purpose, quite suitable smelter workers numbering about 4 thousand people. Running the author of this article. Immediately define the limits of the possible generalizations: the production of metallurgical plants in nature is the nature of the procurement, ie, obtained in the course of its products are intermediates for other companies (aviation, engineering, oil, etc.), it is characterized by a wide range of products (a large number of product names), most versatile equipment and the absence of large series. Therefore the quality of the products is much more dependent on the knowledge and skills of performers (and not just from their care) than in plants with narrow specialization, not to mention the assembly line. The reader should consider this specific aspect.

However, before proceeding to this description, it is necessary to provide some definitions for those who are not familiar with the factory working conditions.

Directly in each shop carefully, the following services: the actual production, ie workers and their line managers (master, senior master, foreman, supervisors), technology (Technology Bureau, consisting of engineers), Technical Control Service (Technical Control Bureau, consisting of supervisors) and repair. The production department is responsible for implementation of the plan for the output, which is compiled and issued for each site shop. Management functions of the service — the right to distribute the work in shifts and monitor the implementation of the plan executors, and maintain production discipline. Technological service develops processes and technical documentation necessary for the implementation of the plan, making adjustments to them as needed and controls the technological discipline. Ie master — is the one who points out that at the moment has to do work, engineer — one who points out how to do it. TC service, regardless of the above two checks made production services to meet customer requirements at each stage of its manufacture. The leaders of technological and manufacturing services (and in some cases repair service managers) are subject to the shop chief and his deputy, Operations.

The workers are employed in two or three shifts, with each shift at each site from the most experienced and skilled workers is assigned a senior or team leader (senior smiths, pressman, turners, etc.).

This production structure inherited most of the plants from the Soviet era.

We will see that with the restoration of capitalism, much has changed in its functioning.

To begin, perhaps, with a description of the working conditions. "Hot shop", "hot experience" — these are not empty words. Every day working heavily exposed thermal radiation. At almost every stage of the process (forging, stamping, rolling, calibration, etc.) blank is heated to 900-1200? C. After each operation, measure the geometric parameters of the resulting intermediate product is naturally hot, he radiates the heat unbearable. Of dark skin and deteriorating eyesight, it is physically unpleasant. If the koltseprokatnom (option: forging and stamping) shop installed vapor-hammer, not hydraulic press, it is added to heat and other harmful factors. Hammer is powered by the kinetic energy stored in its working parts in the process of their movement (drop), due to what made attacks on the workpiece. Power steam-hammer blow depends on the weight of his falling parts. The rate of incidence is 6 to 9 meters per second. Imagine that every second person close to the second floor from a height falls a load of 7-15 tonnes — that's the normal operation of a blacksmith on the vapor powerful hammer. Besides the obvious noise exposure (thunder is heard for a couple of kilometers from the plant), this means a strong vibration transmitted to the bones of the skeleton and internal organs of the workers. Older workers blacksmiths always bad hear and see, have kidney problems, brush their hands look disfigured.

Briefly to mention also working steel, open-hearth, electric steel plants — they are inhaled air filled harmful products of chemical reactions occurring in the process of melting steel and alloys (the specifics of their work known to the author, to a lesser extent).

All of the above reduces the duration of life of the workers. At fifty years of age (the age at which they can retire), they often look old. "Hot experience" leaves an indelible imprint on the exterior.

So, about the workers themselves.

No matter how corny it sounds, there is a huge difference between the workers, who had to catch the Soviet era (let's say, the "old") and young workers. This relates primarily to the differences in their professional, cultural, and educational level.

In Soviet times, the level of theoretical and practical training turner (blacksmith, pressman, roller) was so high that it provided the opportunity for career growth up to the section chief or chief technology officer (however, sooner or later, these people have always received higher education). And then this, by the way, it was considered the norm. A career, initially working in any department of the plant (speaking in a modern way, in the "Office"), it was almost impossible (as if mocking it may sound in our time). On the contrary, compared with the guild workers are people simply looked unlucky.

Soviet workers tend to choose their specialty consciously, including considerations of the material. Now it's hard to believe, but the workers' wages then was much higher than that of any other category of plant personnel. And the more experience has been working, the more you earn. For example, a highly smith got about the same (if not more!) Salary as head of production in which it operates — from the point of view of modern HR-specialist is obvious nonsense. If we draw an analogy with the army — it's as if the sergeant was getting as much as his battalion commander. Ie workers were to be profitable, and prestigious, in a sense, is perspective. Many people there are completely erroneous idea of a continuous "egalitarianism", as if that prevailed at the time at each plant. So, in fact, the time "leveling" the workers came just after the restructuring, although preserved piece-rate pay system. Here is a simple example. Experienced turner, usually running 2-3 times faster beginner, spending less time on setup and changeover equipment, sharpening cutting tools, etc. According to an old friend of the author of the turner, "under the communists," he readily overfulfilled rate by 2 times received 2 times more than his younger colleagues. This was true not satisfactory in the latter. Now all equalized introduction of compulsory restrictions: no one can get more than 150% of the installed base rate (called "cost reduction"), and orders decreased so that the capacity to process almost gone.

The author can provide some indirect evidence indicates a high cultural level, a significant part of the Soviet workers (as the example of a particular company.) At the plant since the 50's to 90's acted drama group, whose leaders over the years have been a professional theater director, and the role played by the workers themselves (among the set plays — comedy "Finding Joy" Rozov, detective drama "Dangerous crossroads "A. and M. Speshneva Maklyarsky).

The interest of the workers to the reading in the Soviet times evidenced by the fact that in addition to a major scientific and technical libraries in plant management, in each shop opened its own small library of fiction, whose attendance was consistently high until the 90's.

Certainly more diverse cultural and leisure was working. After the end of the shift workers often spent time in a unique plant greenhouse, where year-round blooming roses, tulips and carnations, grew many subtropical plants, citrus fruit, figs, and settled down palm trees, overgrown to 12 meters. There they rested, I do hear the singing canaries, talking, playing chess. In the early 90's greenhouse was abandoned, and in the mid-90's destroyed it.

With regular communication with "old" workers by repeatedly urged their curiosity and breadth of vision, especially noticeable on the background of the "gray" of youth.

That said, no one seems odd that the Soviet time the "old" workers kept most grateful memories.

But almost all of them also keeps the memory of the humiliations 90s when to somehow feed during periods of inactivity, they had to go to Moscow to work as "illegal immigrants" (they call it "bride-price", " Dowry "). Some of them then did not return to the factory, someone came with the loss of qualification. Anyway, on the whole they due to "bride price" deep insight into the nature of the current socio-economic system. Too sharp a contrast between the manufacturing of aircraft supplies and construction of houses for members of the new bourgeoisie. One steelmaker told the author that, five years ago, he participated in the construction of an object belonging to one famous TV (judging from the description, it was something like a palace). Despite the generous payment, he recalls the aforementioned work with hate. It is not difficult to understand that this hatred has a class basis. And is related to the "bride price" as a whole is typical of most workers. They are far from indifferent to what kind of work, and for whom they perform.

The general decline of professional and educational level in the 90th led to the young turner can not read the detail drawing, pressman knows how a hydraulic press, and roller — which affects the parameters of rolling. Naturally, in the course of this knowledge is gradually being adopted by experienced teammates, but in Soviet times, initial training allows a person to do the right things he taught. Now, there was quite a strange situation where Turner should be taught to the turner, roller — on roller etc. after they have received the diploma of their core secondary vocational education.

Unfortunately, with their cultural level, things are not better. Most young workers with whom to interact to the author, his life not read a single book (many — up to ten books), and it does not hesitate in the least. This can be partly explained by the fact that they are very early acquire family and children (almost to a man to 22 years). Their cultural requirements are generally quite satisfied with the American film industry is quite low poshiba ("youth" comedy, the film adaptation of comic books, movies, "adult", etc.). Musical tastes almost all limited to "pop" and "Russian chanson" (some also listen to the "Russian rock", and units — foreign "metal" rock). Their pastime also is diverse: the basic forms of rest from work and household chores for them are collective booze in the same places, watching entertainment programs, TV series and football (hockey) games. Some are addicted to fishing and picking mushrooms (although in general it is more common for older workers), many go with the family to relax in nature. Addicted and sports in every shop a football, hockey and basketball teams, delegate representatives to the factory teams in these disciplines. Shocking indifference of young workers, not only in politics, but also to any decisions of the factory management.

Relation to social reality and political situation in the older generation is somewhat different.

The "old" workers are always aware of the great amount of dividends to owners of the company, the value of its shares, the planned increase / decrease of wages, etc. to a shop manual, they are wary, and to the plant, as a rule, and did nourish outright hostility. Government propaganda in general, they do not believe, even though many of them still have illusions about some of the "untwisted" TV major political figures. Many of them do not consciously go to the polls. They consider their homeland is not Russia, and the Soviet Union. It would be logical to assume that they have left-wing views, but this is not the case. They generally have no concept of the difference between left and right. Their political naivety comes to what they sincerely believe GA Zyuganov's Communist (with all its negative consequences). Only a logical conclusion about himself arrived at each of them — that the government is always and in all their tricks. Russia's future is bleak and hopeless to them, and no alternatives to it they do not see. Of any "true" class consciousness, desire to radically improve their position they can not be out of the question (especially — young workers). Possible to speak about the extreme reification of consciousness, when "… it is completely passive observer of the laws of motion of things, in which it is unable to intervene in any circumstances" (Lukacs). Furthermore, the author was surprised to find that some of the former Soviet workers, the (preserved?) Religious feeling. They know the dates of church holidays, go to church, visit holy abode (Diveevo Sarov) and so on. It is possible that this trend in the future be more widely adopted.

There is reason to believe that the above ideological spineless workers is associated not only with the loss of historical memory. To fundamentally change their very position in industry. And it was not in a sharp decline in the prestige of working professions. General rule, marked by all the old plant employees, is this: to remove the performer of all responsibility. Ie if before the work was required to report, in writing, for each match (let alone marriage) under the threat of taking prize, now he can safely refer to the lack of an inspection without any consequences for themselves. Of course, this does not mean that the worker can not afford to purposely not fulfill the requirements laid down in the map production process. He just is not enough of them now. Said document still requires some understanding, comparison, taking into account deviations in weight or size. Of course, working with a professional ease should build the missing details in your mind, make adjustments, etc. But now he do not necessarily. Higher authorities were no longer perceived as a competent working artist that you can trust, and that the transferred and guild leaders (of course, except for the heads of the old school). It all started with the fact that the recommendations of the working stopped listening ("they say, without you will understand"). And led to ask what was not with anyone. Naturally, without a scapegoat to do was impossible. From now on, the responsibility for the proper or improper performance of technology falls squarely in some shops on the masters, others — on the technology, in the third — on the controller TCI. This is easily explained. It is clear that the authorities easier to wipe my feet on the technologist or the master, rather than to communicate with the proletariat, which, moreover, do not really respect the authorities and it may, in response to swearing to express all that thinking about him. Paradoxically, the current situation suits both manual and workers. The former can never remember a gray mass, which swarm in the workshop and produce unique products that generate annual profits of hundreds of millions of rubles. The latter can not forget the hardships premium explanatory, reprimands, etc. But there is a very unpleasant consequence for those who see in the working class revolutionary enzyme: work wean think, solve, evaluate, take responsibility. I would hope that this is characteristic only for the described company.

In addition to the above would be written on an empirical example to prove the futility of such a distrust of the working part of superiors.

There is a blue-collar professions — calibrator. These products come to work after punching and rolling, and their task — to finally bring the ring to the workpiece drawing size banner on the calibration press. Earlier this plot involved a single technology for calibration. But with the advent of a "democratic" era, when production fell by 95%, people stopped paying wages and factory staff, almost to a man turned to subsistence farming, the profession was excluded from the block diagram of the company — as unnecessary. For a while, the site involved in other technologies — were selected and designed snap, make recommendations, etc. But not for long. In the end, they have limited their participation design parameters specified in the card manufacturing process. The site was taken over by the masters. But when all the experienced masters (themselves in the past workers) fired and replaced by a new, grown up in the 90's generation, in fact, the site is not involved in any one service. This period of workers' self-stretched for at least ten years. And what happened? It turned out that it is possible to do without technology, and without masters (author admits it is not without a sense of shame.) Workers are not only the sector started picking up, take thermal shrinkage obtained independently correct deviations in the other process stages and to ensure uninterrupted production of suitable products, but actually conducted a thorough audit of equipment, they began to give the job to the production of new sector-belts, etc. We leave it to the reader to draw conclusions.

The relationship between the young and "old" workers — it is almost always the relationship between teacher and student, a young worker at first in all manner of copies of the "old", then gradually develops his own style, but the initial similarity remains. And in this sense, Soviet tradition continues. Each young worker over time is, relatively speaking, an assistant of any of the "older". They work on the same shift, were having dinner together and go to work. As the "senior" is always much more developed as a person, for a young worker, he is an example, not only professionally, but also in purely worldly terms. Therefore imposed a media militant individualism youth is heavily swayed by the interaction with the established team.

However, to completely overcome it is not possible, because in the work community is no unity even at the level of the shop.

An important feature of the present situation, in my opinion, is the fact that the already small now working class (in the traditional sense of the word) is no longer homogeneous. Besides the mentioned demarcation in age, there are other factors that contribute to the development and consolidation of its "heterogeneity". First of all, it is unthinkable in the Soviet Union artificially created differentiation collar occupations wages. The point is that the salaries of a few selected categories of workers increased to the detriment of others. This is true even within the same department, not to mention the company as a whole. Typically encourage workers operating high-tech equipment (foreign or new, accurate, and so on). It is assumed that their contribution to the supposedly more significant than others. High wages coupled with a relatively favorable conditions of work of the workers causes irritation and envy from their less successful (and / or less fortunate) colleagues. In fact, the situation has played Tsarist Russia in the late XIX — early XX century, when some of the factory workers as there was a clear distinction between high-and low-paid. The only difference is that the relatively higher wages while at least consistent with the higher qualification of the worker (advanced metal Grandmother St. Petersburg, Shelgunov etc.). Now it is quite difficult to understand why, for example, the salary of a blacksmith less than the presser. Because hydraulic press was invented later steam-hammer? The paradox lies in the fact that some very complex shape cross-section ring products can be made only with the use of pre-forging hammers (due to its greater flexibility hammer as a weapon). Ie Inadequate evaluation of many blue-collar occupations simply striking. Such an artificial inequality apparently solves two problems: first, the saving in wages, and secondly, there is disunity among workers within the plant, preventing the advancement of common requirements. When the co-operative process (when the resulting intermediate product several times moved from site to site or from shop to shop) there are difficulties similar to those that occur in the offices of large companies in co-operation, for example, several departments on a project. Appear before the uncharacteristic for factory air squabbles and bickering, showdown, the division between "us" and "them" among the workers.

Now that we have briefly analyzed these conventional categories ("old" and the young, high-and low-paid), I would like to further explore a relatively small group of workers whose positions are currently the most favorable. This — rather more young people who came to work around the end of the 90s to replace the "old", successfully adopted (and in many ways — that exceeded) their experience and highly relevant to the category. Almost all of them are (or get — money plant) higher education, and many were trained in their profession abroad. They work in a foreign high-tech equipment and produce the most expensive and difficult to manufacture products (including for export to the U.S. and Europe). Their values and encourages the authorities — because they do not change. And they understand this. Unlike the rest of the workers are not afraid for their future. And only they are allowed to something for which others are fired they may object to the authorities, and often it has to listen to them. It is this combination of high skill, relatively high wages and the possibility of relatively free to express their opinion to suggest that this is a potential representatives of the vanguard of the working class. So far, the reason for this is not enough, and the reason is very simple: the market conditions of their privileged status completely satisfied. However, in the author's view, to the extent of the crisis and the proliferation of breaking the status quo, most likely, it will be easier for such workers to realize their true class interests and to explain to their colleagues. In contrast, the probability of a future confrontation with the rest of the workers are small: they have not yet (and are certainly not have time) to break away from the main body, and become a closed working the "elite."

Fortunately, the working class and still not lose the main features of their identity. It is on these, the most characteristic features of the workers as a whole and will be discussed at the end of our description. Generalization will be quite justified, because in the end, these features are produced by the very conditions of work in the hot shop.

Anyone who has ever observed the work shift teams, drew attention to the extraordinary coherence of its composition. This equally applies to the blacksmiths hammer on the vapor (the most physically demanding job), and the control room operators Ring rolling machines (the most prestigious profession working in the factory). Give some examples. Senior blacksmith during rolling every second tick ring rotates the workpiece on its axis at 5-7?, At this very moment it hits the hammer on controlled machinist apprentice blacksmith while holding Inker mandrel timely changing them with increasing inner diameter. Without any modern sensors and measuring devices, these people provide dimensional accuracy within 5 mm. Operators in the rolling mill is adjusted to 15 different parameters and functions (excluding auxiliary) displayed on 2 monitors, while managing to look at the resulting product and reinforce the visual computer data (cracking, difficulty forming profile). They provide dimensional accuracy — up to 2 mm. Both of the process, usually lasting no more than 2-3 minutes. At this time, of course, can happen unforeseen events, equipment malfunction, etc., that need to work together urgently to eliminate, as then the marriage will be impossible to correct. The standard rule for many, that error should fix the one who made up, just can not work — that is the specificity of work in the shop. Animal manifestations of selfishness, so characteristic of the majority of people in extreme situations, workers are absent or reduced to a minimum, which was repeatedly convinced the author. It is interesting that all of their value judgments about colleagues depend mainly on their ability to work in teams. Rivalry, competition, scheming, etc. completely absent here. Moreover, the willingness to help, to replace a shoulder eventually develops into a deeply humane treatment for all who fully shares with the working of his working life. Again, we give a typical example. The plant in almost every shop there are workers whose capacity is limited (inarticulate, heavy drinkers, finally, just "broken life"). Usually, they work in the areas of delivery, help supervisors obmeryat products are calipers, ship procurement transfer trolley etc. It is no exaggeration to say that only in a working environment, these people forget their inferiority. It is incomprehensible that the workers can not communicate with them as equals, without needing any indulgence and offensive sympathy. But those who allow themselves to let go even a little insulting jokes about such employees subject to collective moral judgment of colossal strength.

Thus, we see that the consciousness of the workers currently quite disparate impact factors. On the one hand, the gradual removal of responsibility from them quite objectively contributes to their demoralisation and the emergence of a passive attitude to reality, inequality of salaries for different categories of workers working team splits up into hostile groups, again coming depoliticized youth and tainted by bourgeois ideology. On the other hand, they working conditions contribute to a sense of solidarity and collectivism, the "old" workers have the opportunity to compare the experience of living in the Soviet Union and the bitter experience of survival in 90 years, once and for all to convince them of the injustice of Russian society, and can pass this knowledge to the young. Which of the following general trends prevail in the collective consciousness of the workers, the author can not say yet. However, to date it is clear that the developing crisis will lead to completely discredited "market values" and drastically reduce the standard of living of the working class as a whole, and this may contribute to radicalization. And there is a privileged group of workers by age located between the "old" and young, not afraid of the authorities, in the long term ability to achieve their demands, and lead the rest (of course, if you do not stop the production and plants begin to shut down.)

All this suggests that the objective is added (or will soon be added) a favorable environment for the cohesion of the working class and the awakening of his true class consciousness.

To accomplish this, a sweeping education.

January 2009
Ivan Leszczynski

Leszczynski Ivan — Engineer, graduated from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 2007, after graduation, he worked in the steel mill.

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