MOSCOW — The Soviet government published guidelines Tuesday for dealing with great numbers of workers expected to lose their jobs under the economic restructuring known as perestroika. None seem to offer much comfort for the millions of people who may be affected.
The official press has published estimates that up to 17 million people may have to change jobs as part of the massive program advocated by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Finding work for them will not be a familiar problem. According to Communist Party doctrine, there has been no unemployment in the Soviet Union since 1929. Party doctrine has it that everyone has the right to a job.
The Communist Party daily Pravda, citing guidelines issued to factory managers, said that a nationwide system of "employment bureaus" will be established to help displaced men and women find new jobs. It said they will get three months' pay to help them through the transition and that they can consider three possibilities:
-- They may be transferred from day work to the second or third shift at the same factory, in the hope of getting more efficient use of costly capital equipment.
-- They may be relocated to labor-short areas such as the Far East, Siberia and the Far North, where massive economic development is under way.
-- They may be assigned to work with one of the new cooperatives or set up in business on their own. Few Soviet workers, accustomed to being assigned by the government to a job, could be expected to look forward to joining a cooperative or starting out in private business.
Pravda said that a fourth possibility was also mentioned--retraining--but factory managers are already offering surplus employees the chance to learn a new job in the same plant.
The guidelines were issued in the name of the Council of Ministers, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the trade union leadership. They appeared to combine several approaches suggested by leading economists.
When one economist said that a little unemployment might make people work harder to hold their jobs, he was attacked by Gorbachev himself.
Gorbachev has suggested that it might be desirable to put on evening and night shifts at some plants, but economist Tatyana Zaslavskaya has cautioned that raw materials, electric power and other elements are already in short supply.
Also, she said, warehouses are crammed with unwanted goods and, besides, additional production is not the main goal of the restructuring campaign.
Zaslavskaya said that workers who are no longer needed at their factories should be directed into private enterprise or services, such as retail trade and transportation, areas in which labor shortages are still a problem.
But people trying to set up cooperative cafes or repair services have complained in letters to newspapers that bureaucrats have refused to give them permission and placed other obstacles in their paths.