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'Full Employment' Soviet Union Braces for Wave of Joblessness

January 19, 1988|United Press International

MOSCOW — The Soviet Union, which for half a century has boasted of achieving full employment, published plans today for handling the vast number of workers who may lose their jobs under Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev's economic reforms.

Still maintaining that everyone has the right to a job, the proclamation published on the front page of the Communist Party newspaper Pravda provided information on finding new work and getting a maximum of three months pay to ease the transition.

And after years of condemning Western "labor exchanges" where workers are directed to jobs, the statement announced a nationwide system of "employment bureaus" to help Soviet workers find jobs.

The measures "on ensuring the efficient employment of the population" were an inevitable but widely feared result of Gorbachev's efforts to reverse Soviet economic decline.

Gorbachev wants to slash the number employed in the bloated administrative sector--with 18 million managers--and force greater efficiency in the factories they supervise by cutting surplus workers. Ministries in Moscow alone are supposed to cut 100,000 employees.

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