MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |
Soviet Union Information Bureau
AT the close of 1927 the output of Soviet industries was estimated at 10 per
cent above pre-war, while the labor force was about equal to that of 1913. The
gain in labor efficiency is the more marked when one considers that the length
of the average working day has been reduced by about 25 per cent as compared
Real wages for workers in industry in 1926-27 were about 1 per cent above
those of 1913. This does not take account of the various additional benefits and
services received gratis by the workers. As a charge upon the industries these
benefits and services make an addition amounting to 32 per cent of the total
The highest expenditures of this character are reported by the oil industry,
which pays out 6 per cent of the amount of the payroll for additional benefits
for the workers.
Money wages have risen steadily for the past few years. In the large-scale
industries they increased 17 per cent in 1927. Wages of office workers are
generally higher than those of industrial workers. Wages in Moscow are about 35
per cent higher than in other cities.
The labor efficiency has risen through better industrial processes and better
machinery. Output per worker in the Soviet Union is still low by Western
European standards, but it has been showing a healthy rate of advance. The
advance has been aided by a campaign against absenteeism. In 1913 the days of
actual work per worker in industry were 257. In the fiscal year 1921-22 they had
fallen to 219.5. In 1926-27 they were 262.1.
On the other hand the length of the normal working day, which was 10 hours
before the war, was reduced to 8 hours at the beginning of the Soviet régime,
and for dangerous occupations to 6 hours. During 1926-27 the working day
averaged 7.5 hours.
The Council of People's Commissars, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary
of the Soviet State, in November, 1927, decreed the gradual introduction of the
7-hour day in industry. This is being put in force first in the textile
Labor conditions are regulated by the Code of Labor Laws and by collective
agreements between employers and the trade unions. Workers are hired generally
through Government labor exchanges and the trade unions. Labor disputes are
referred to Arbitration Committees, on which both the management and the labor
union are represented. Since wages follow productive efficiency, the worker
feels that he has a stake in the increasing efficiency of the industrial
process. This feeling is a natural corollary of his proprietary position in
respect to the industry and the country generally.
Under the labor laws no children under 14 years may be employed in industry.
Between the ages of 14 and 16 a 4-hour day is permitted, and between the ages of
16 and 18 a 6-hour day. All industries are required to employ and train a
specified quota of apprentices.
During the year there are fourteen legal holidays for workers. In addition
each worker has a two weeks' vacation with pay, and in dangerous or heavy
vocations an additional two weeks is allowed. In 146 of the dangerous trades a
shorter working day is in effect.
Women workers receive from six to eight weeks' vacation with pay before and
The special benefits and services provided by employers under the law include
free or nominal rentals for housing, free fuel, water, electric light,
transportation, special working clothing, dental and medical service, social
insurance (see section on Insurance).
Safety and health regulations are strictly enforced by labor inspectors with
the result that much progress has been made in reducing the number of accidents
and occupational diseases.
The right to strike is maintained in respect to State enterprises as well as
private factories. Under the arbitral provisions of the Labor Code strikes have
been reduced to a minimum during the past few years.
|Number of Persons Gainfully Occupied
|Industry and Handicraft
|Telegraph and Telephone
|Other State, Cooperative and Private Organizations
|Other Persons Gainfully Occupied
The total number of workers in industry was 3,075,000 last year; of this the
census industry had 2,564,000.
|Number of Workers in Census Industry
|(exclusive of flour, baking, printing,
and power plant industries)
|Number of Workers in Large-Scale State
||Number of Workers
||Per Cent Gain Over Preceding Year
The average number of workers employed in large-scale State industry during
the first half of 1927-28 was 2,103,000, an increase of 5.5 per cent over the
corresponding period of 1926-27.
|Hours of Work
|Average number of working days per year
|Average length of working day
|Average number of hours worked per year
|Average Monthly Wages in Census
|Average for all industries
|Average for Moscow
Average wages in census industry for January, 1928, amounted to 67.17 rubles,
an increase of 17 per cent over January, 1927. The average wages in Moscow
amounted to 92.64 rubles.
|Wage Groups in Census Industry
|(Number of workers in each group as per
cent of the total)
|Monthly Wages (rubles)
|Up to 30
|Food Ration Per Adult Worker
|(Monthly Average, in kilograms)
TRADE UNIONS.- Trade unions play a most
important role in both the social and economic scheme of the Soviet Union.
Membership is entirely voluntary. Trade union officers are elected directly by
the members and are directly responsible to them.
There are twenty-three large central trade unions in the U.S.S.R. These are
united in the Central Council of Trade Unions.
The trade unions, through their factory committees, have organized special
production committees in State factories and enterprises. There are over 50,000
of these production committees. Collaborating with engineers and specialists in
the industries, the committees have a splendid record of accomplishment in
increasing the output of the individual worker, facilitating inventions and
bringing about better organization of work and higher rationalization of
The cultural-educational work of the trade unions has brought equally
impressive results and has been a mighty factor in the work of stamping out
illiteracy. This work is an organic part of every department of the labor
organization. The educational program includes the formation of clubs,
libraries, schools, discussion circles of all kinds, the production of
newspapers and other literature. The trade unions now maintain about 4,000 clubs
and nearly 10,000 libraries.
The growth of trade union membership is shown in the following table:
||July 1, 1927
Membership of trade unions as of October 1, 1928, was 11,034,600.
UNEMPLOYMENT.- Despite the steady rise
of industry and the attendant increases in the labor force, unemployment remains
at a high figure because of the rapid increase of population and the constant
influx of young peasants to the industrial centers. Of the 1,352,800 registered
unemployed at the beginning of 1928, 263,900, or nearly 20 per cent, were men
seeking jobs in industry who had never before been employed in industrial work.
There is little unemployment among skilled workers.
Unemployment figures vary with the seasons. It reaches its peak in the winter
and early spring and declines by 300,000,000 to 500,000 during the summer
months, when irrigation and reclamation work gives much temporary employment and
many of the jobless ones of the city can be absorbed in the agricultural field.
Number of unemployed in the U.S.S.R. as of January 1:
The expenditures for unemployment (pensions, etc.) during the past four years
were as follows:
||Federal and Local Budgets Rubles
||Social Insurance Fund Rubles
||Trade Unions Rubles
This does not include the earnings of the collectives of unemployed which
have been organized to render various services.
SOCIAL INSURANCE.- Social insurance,
conducted by the State, and under the direct control of the workers'
organizations, includes insurance against disability and unemployment, for women
during and after pregnancy, and covers mortuary payments to helpless dependents.
This insurance is a charge against the employing industry, whether State,
cooperative or private. Every employer must contribute 4.5 per cent of the
amount of his payroll to the insurance fund.
The growth of social insurance is shown in the following table:
|Number of Workers Insured
|Number of Pensioners
|Number of Persons sent for Treatment to Sanitariums
|Total Amount Collected for Social Insurance funds, rubles
|Average Monthly Payments to Unemployed, rubles
|Average Monthly Payments to Invalids, rubles