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60,000 to Lose Soviet Ministry Jobs in Cutback

November 10, 1987|Associated Press

MOSCOW — A national newspaper disclosed today that 60,000 Moscow residents will be fired in the next two years under Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's campaign to streamline government by cutting 50% of all ministry jobs.

The newspaper Socialist Industry said the order to eliminate every second government job by the year 1990 has resulted in turmoil in the Moscow-based ministries, with tearful employees lined up to appeal their firing orders.

The report raised the usually taboo subject of unemployment in the Soviet Union, although it never referred to the "reassigned" workers as unemployed.

It portrayed the firings and the disruptions they were causing for Soviet workers as necessary sacrifices in Gorbachev's campaign for perestroika, or wholesale restructuring of the economy and society.

Socialist Industry said the criteria used by ministry administrators, labor union officials and Communist Party leaders to decide who goes and who stays at each ministry are just, but that the guidelines are not followed in all cases.

The newspaper said influential people are able to trade unattractive reassignments for better posts, or escape the cuts altogether by using their connections.

Attitudes Described

"Let others go," the newspaper quoted one woman, identified only as Nadezhda P., as saying. "I've been offered a 180-ruble job in the place of my 220-ruble job, and I won't go." The proposed reassignment would drop her monthly salary from the equivalent of $355 to $290.

The woman argued that her seniority should ensure her the right to retain her job.

A. N. Lazarev, deputy chief of the newly merged ministry of machine-building for heavy, energy and transport industries, told the newspaper that 680 people in the combined ministry had already been laid off.

He said the criteria used to decide who is fired are efficiency, education and then age, family situation and "moral quality."

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