Lukashenka's economic model didn't only begin to show signs of strain, but also led to a dead end.
Henadz Fiadynich, the chairman of the electronic industry trade union, spoke to charter97.org about the suspension of production at the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ).
“Workers should have begun a strike long time ago, because all promises are senseless. They worked four days a week, they won't work from January 24 to February 7. Only the bus shop will work, because the domestic market needs buses. As for MAZ trucks, the plant increased production in January—February, but trucks were not sold. MAZ plant should have carried out restructuring. It needs investments and new technologies. To be honest, the plant can't develop with old technologies,” the trade union leader said.
Henadz Fiadynich noted salaries for workers of Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ) were not increased in accordance with the inflation rate.
“We can say the economic model promoted by the government didn't only begin to show signs of strain, but it also led to a dead end. Is the government able to turn the economic model in the market direction? I think it's not able,” he is sure.
The trade union head added the state took more and more money from people by imposing a tax for car owners, raising utility bills and so on.
“If they sell MTZ and MAZ today, it won't change the situation in the near future. What should they do with people? No one will buy a plant with 18,000-20,000 workers. They should have thought about it earlier,” Henadz Fiadynich says.
Production on almost all departments of the country's biggest truck manufacturer was stopped. Minsk Automobile Plant had several four-day weeks this year. The enterprise stood idle several Fridays in November. The plant management fears bankruptcy.
Workers say the plant's warehouses are filled with unsold trucks. The demand for Belarusian trucks is extremely low on the international and Russian markets. The plant cannot afford to buy materials and components for new trucks.