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Category: History

Role of labor unions in improvement of social living conditions of the working industrial enterprises of the Black Earth in days of the New Economic Policy

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Belgorod state university


Article contains the analysis of the main activities of labor unions in improvement of social living conditions of the working industrial enterprises of the Black Earth. It is shown that introduction of a system of social insurance provided increase in living standards of workers, allowed to use more effectively means for rise of production. Service insured improved, and payments of grants were made directly at the enterprises. It is established that existence of cash desks of mutual aid promoted improvement of financial position of especially needing workers.

A methodological basis of a research were the principles of historicism, objectivity, systemacity, special scientific methods (comparative-historical, chronological, logical) that facilitated identification of the general regularities and characteristics in the history of trade-union bodies and allowed to show their role in social and political life of the country. The principle of historicism assumes consideration of any phenomenon or an event in its development and interrelation with other phenomena. From such positions we sought to approach illumination of social and economic activity of labor unions for 1920-1928. On the basis of system approach the labor unions are considered as the component of political system which was at all costs in a condition of dynamic balance. And at the same time labor unions possessed certain autonomy, holding a specific place in the solution of party tasks.

Labor unions are a historical product of any civilized society. They worked and will perform the functions until there is a system of wage labor. Historical experience does not know other mass public, non-political organization of workers which was more aimed at protection of interests of workers than labor unions yet. Studying activity of these organizations, the main directions, forms and methods of their work will always draw attention of researchers. Now for the organization of effective protection of the rights and interests the workers combine the efforts by creation of labor unions. The purpose of these organizations is in to allowing employers (whether it be government institutions or the chastnopredprinimatelsky enterprises) to work on the arbitrariness in relation to the worker.

In the 20th years of the 20th century of the organization of labor unions carried out considerable work in the field of increase in growth of material well-being of workers. In the early twenties into the structure of the temporary commission on holding actions for improvement of life of workers formed at VTsIK entered three representatives from the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (further - the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions). Research of means of material security of workers, development and carrying out in life of actions for improvement of the situation of workers and the leadership in activity of the local and departmental commissions was tasks of the commission.

According to the resolution of VTsIK on creation of the central and local commissions on improvement of life rabochikh1 in the center and on places were assigned to labor unions

1 News of VTsIK. - 1921. - March 22.

certain tasks. So, the Kursk provincial council of labor unions (further - GSPS) on November 20, 1922 instructed the Belgorod district trade-union bureau in the main directions in which work of labor unions in the conditions of the new economic policy in the field of improvement of life of workers had to be conducted: 1) social insurance; 2) medical care; 3) housing question; 4) holiday houses; 5) cash desk vzaimopomoshchi2.

Care of labor unions of growth of material well-being of workers and employees of the enterprises was followed by improvement and development of a system of social insurance. Labor unions possessed a role of the organizer of cash desks of social insurance.

According to the decree of SNK of May 12, 1921 about social security of the persons occupied with wage labor at the state, private and rent enterprises social insurance on all cases of temporary and constant loss of disability, in case of unemployment and in case of death was entered. In the bulletin "Legalizations and Orders of the Central Power" of the Voronezh gubispolkom it was noted that the commission of labor protection was renamed into the commission of labor protection and social security. In the instruction "About work on social security" the following tasks of this commission in the field of work on social security were formulated: 1) control of timely issue of sick-lists of the holiday sheets certifying respectfulness of the reasons of absence from work and granting the right to social security; 2) establishment in necessary cases of financial position of workers and members of their families; 3) issue of references to workers concerning social security; 4) dissemination of data on social security of workers.

The narcomat of social security explained on August 26, 1921 that "the correct organization of labor demands the attentive relation to working conditions, health and maintaining operating living level in case of any trouble" 3. In this regard along with work of the trade-union organizations in the field of an industrial health and safety of workers the participation them in implementation of all types of social security of workers and employees was of particular importance.

Carrying out the resolution SNK of November 15, 1921. "About social security at temporary disability and motherhood" 4, the Belgorod district executive committee of July 4, 1922 issued the order where it was offered to the state, cooperative and private enterprises, institutions in the city and the county which had workers and employees occupied with wage labor to introduce insurance premiums by the form "And", that is in case of temporary disability (a mutilation, a disease, pregnancy, childbirth) 5. Contributions were established separately on each type of insurance. For development of a system of insurance the bodies of social insurance together with bodies of labor protection were granted the right, depending on sanitary and hygienic conditions and labor protection at the enterprise, to lower or increase the amount of insurance premiums on all types of insurance to 25% of the due sum.

Collection of insurance premiums from institutions and the enterprises, both with state, and with private, in the Belgorod County of the Kursk province began since March 5, 1922 6. The numerical structure of registered enterprises and workers and also the sum of contributions was brought in the report of the Belgorod district department of social security, and it was noted that "from 1.01.1922 to 1.01.1923 the registered state and private enterprises and institutions 143 with number of the registered workers and the serving 7520 people (state 67 with number of workers and employees 5212, private 76 with number of workers and the serving 2380 people). By 1.01.1923 insurance premiums it was collected - 4,843,008 rub

2 State Archive of the Belgorod Region (SABR). - F. R-711. - Op. 1. - 23. - L. 121.
3 GABO. - F. R-196. - Op. 1. - 3. - L. 1.5.
4 The collection of legalizations and orders of the Workers' and Peasants' government of 1921 - M., 1922. - Page 410.
5 GABO. - F. R-711. - Op. 1. - 23. - L. 185.
6 Day of work. - 1923. - On Jan. 30

(the banknote of release of 1922), from them it is spent on delivery of grants of jobless-352,125 rub and at temporary loss of disability - 1,349,565 rub" 7.

By 1923 in the Belgorod County the number of the insured enterprises grew. Figures show what instead of the insured enterprises and institutions which were available in 1922 143 by the end of 1923 already was 328 at which was 7737 insured lits8. And for the same period of time of the insured institutions and enterprises for the Stary Oskol County was 44, with number 1873 of the insured workers and employees.

According to the order of SNK and All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions the sums of insurance payments were granted by the enterprises first of all. In case of failure to pay insurance payments the administration of the enterprises was held criminally responsible. So, in August, 1922 the inspector of labor protection of the Stary Oskol County surveyed 12 enterprises, and on some of them violations in the form of evasion from payment of insurance premiums on social insurance of workers and employees were found. So, district bodies of social security imposed a penalty for a deviation from social insurance on the owner of one of mills of 7 thousand rubles 9. And nevertheless, in January, 1923. The Belgorod regional strakhkassa registered the debt of the enterprises which did not bring insurance on 200 thousand rubles (sample of 1923).

Introduction of a system of social insurance provided increase in living standards of workers, allowed to use more effectively means for rise of production. Service of the insured persons by improvement of service through the organization strakhkass directly in shops improved, and payments of grants were made since 1923 directly at the enterprises.

Labor unions paid close attention to questions of medical care of workers. In Resolutions IV of the All-Russian congress of labor unions special attention to security of workers and employees was paid by medical care. In the country it was necessary not only to restore, but also to modernize network of medical institutions, it is essential to expand scheduled maintenance on improvement. Due to the insufficiency of funds for free medical care the government of RSFSR adopted on December 19, 1921 the resolution on establishment of special insurance premiums from the enterprises and institutions for medical care. Contributions were raised by insurance bodies and transferred Narkomzdrava. Medical care of the workers of the food and flavoring industry insured in the Kursk province on the union was provided through local medpunkty10. At the beginning of 1922 the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions and the People's commissar-sensible the Provision on joint participation of trade-union associations and economic organizations in health protection of workers providing assistance of labor unions in fund-raising of the industrial enterprises was issued. In 1923 at the sugar plants (New and Tavolzhansk, Dmitro-Taranovsk and Profintern) working in the Belgorod County of the Kursk province there were the hospitals on 18-20 beds serving the working personnel.

Daily care of labor unions was taken also in the organization of healthy rest of workers. At the beginning of the recovery period all institutions of improving type were under authority Narkomzdrava, but the state could not allocate enough funds for their maintenance. Therefore the government in January, 1922 adopted the decree renting holiday houses and resorts from the state supply. In this regard the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions through SNK carried out the resolution on keeping at the expense of the state of 10 thousand beds in holiday houses, but only for 11 large industrial centers of the country holiday houses in other places were transferred to financing from local budgets.

At the conclusion of collective agreements between the enterprise and the working labor unions it was recommended to insert into contracts special

7 GABO. - F. R-379. - Op. 1. - 115.
8 Day of work. - 1923. - On Oct. 18
9 Kursk truth. - 1923. - On Sep. 17
10 The report report on work of board of the Kursk provincial department of the union of workers of the food and flavoring industry for 1924/25 is Kursk, 1925. - Page 7.

points on the obligation of economic organizations to organize a certain number of vacation spots of the working personnel in resorts. This instruction widely took root into all labor unions. For 1923 "the tubercular holiday house" of the Kursk province accepted 945 people, and on the industry unions of the place were distributed as follows: "food industry workers" - 121 places; "skinners" - 71 places; "sakharnik" - 2 mesta11. In the Belgorod County in 1923 the places in holiday houses were distributed so: "food industry workers" - 15 places, "skinners" - 20 places, "sakharnik" - 2 mesta12.

As a result of organizational work of labor unions by 1926 the situation on resort sanatorium providing remained stable. On the Grayvoronsky County there was the following number of the provided places the unions in holiday houses: to "food industry workers" - 7 places, to "sakharnik" - 27 mest13. The presidium of the Kursk provincial council of labor unions distributed on April 22, 1926 places in holiday houses the following district trade-union bureau: Stary Oskol - 15 places, Belgorod - 20 places, to Grayvoronsky - 10 mest14. Distribution of permits on counties and to resorts from another town took place: Stary Oskol 2 places to the Caucasus, Belgorod - were provided

1 the place to Yalta, Grayvoronskoma - 1 place to the Crimea.

Thanks to the fact that by 1926 the activity of public authorities of the Kursk province was adjusted and worked quite steadily, in general needs of workers in respect of rest and treatment were satisfied (see tab. 1).

Table 1

The information about the number of the members of the union of the workers of the food and flavoring industry who had a rest in holiday houses and received sanatorium treatment in summer months 1926

on the Kursk province

Vacation spots Distribution of places

only working serving studying

Central office of sots-cash desk Crimea 7 7 - -

Caucasus 2 2 - -

Osudarstvenny resort management Crimea 6 4 2 -

Caucasus 8 8 - -

Other 3 1 2 -

Holiday houses 401 330 56 8

Sanatoria 22 19 3 -

Only 449 371 62 18

These tables demonstrate that the percentage of the permits in sanatoria and holiday houses selected to workers and employees was defined by need to carry out decisions IV of the All-Russian congress of labor unions on a priority of interests of workers (not less than 80% of the total number of permits) on production.

Care of labor unions of material welfare of workers was shown in the organization at the enterprises of cash desks of mutual aid. On the drafted Charter of cash desks vzaimopomoshchi15 cash desks were the voluntary organizations and rendered financial support to the needing members when financial support was not provided by social insurance. Workers could be participants of cash desk and serving -

11 The report on work of the Kursk GSPS for 1923 is Kursk, 1924. - Page 21.
12 GABO. - F. R-711. - Op. 1. - 33. - L. 69.
13 In the same place. - F. R-713. - Op. 1. - 68. - L. 160.
14 GABO. - F. R-711. - Op. 1. - 68. - L. 181.
15 In the same place. - L. 87.

the shchy enterprises where the cash desk was organized. Sources of accumulation of funds of cash desks of mutual aid were contributions of members of cash desks (1% of the salary).

Emergence of cash desks of mutual aid was a popular initiative of the trade-union organizations. By 1924 in the Kursk province there were 13 cash desks of mutual aid on the union of workers of the food and flavoring industry. On counties above the specified province the members of cash desks of mutual aid were distributed as follows (see tab. 2).

Table 2

Work of cash desks of mutual aid on the union of workers of the food and flavoring industry for 1924

Cash desks in counties The number of members of cash desk The number of appeals to cash desk Is given returnable loans Given irrevocable grants

Belgorod 338 102 981 118

Stary Oskol 509 370 2348 134

New Oskol 202 27 181 there are no data

Grayvoronsky 220 53 434 10

For comparison it should be noted that in the territory of the Voronezh province by 1925 there were 12 cash desks of mutual aid on the union of workers of the food and flavoring industry. From this number of 5 cash desks of mutual aid were in Valuysky district office of this union and had 987 members of cash desks (98% of participants of cash desks to the total number of members of the union) 16.

Existence of cash desks of mutual aid promoted improvement of financial position especially needing, however initially in creation of cash desks the reason of their subsequent elimination was put - it is not return of the returnable sums. The resolution of the Organizational meeting at the Kursk GSPS of July 27, 1926 the cash desks of mutual aid were reorganizovany17.

An important indicator of living standards of workers were their living conditions. The problem with housing countrywide in the period of the New Economic Policy was one of the sharpest. In the territory of the Kursk and Voronezh provinces about 50% of working families had no housing, or their living space was of little use for accommodation and did not meet all requirements of hygiene and sanitation. From time to time the being published certificates really terrify. The problem was so acute that even really scandalous things were given in an official seal (despite a caesura). So, in the Trudovoy Den newspaper (appearing in the Kursk province) in a heading "Factory life. As we live and we work" of February 16, 1923 was reported that "workers of the Dmitro-Taranovsky sugar plant live in barracks where always the twilight, insanitary conditions, dampness, a lack of light and heat from what the percent of TB patients, rheumatism and typhus increases. The worker uses a bath only once in a month" 18. The newspaper focused public attention on it and urged administration of the enterprise and labor union to pay attention to this problem.

Considering a critical situation with housing, VTsIK and SNK in the resolution of March 27, 1923 ordered to allocate without fail for construction of housing not less than 75% of means of means from funds of improvement of life of workers, and other 25% — for satisfaction of other social needs of working collective. Contemporary records demonstrate that local provincial bodies were obliged to carry out this resolution. So, fund of improvement of life of workers for 1925/26 19 at the Valuysky group of industrial enterprises (entered: oil milling and flour-grinding krupyanaya the industry) made 15,918 rub 62 kopeks and according to the specified resolution it was distributed as follows: fund of housing construction of 75% - 11,932 rub 12 kopeks, other 25% - 3,986 rub 50 kopeks. It should be noted that it were very modest means. Nevertheless me-

16 GABO. - F. R-756. - Op. 1. - 11. - L. 10.
17 Day of work. - 1923. - On Feb. 16
18 GABO. - F. R-756. - Op. 1. - 36. - L. 19.
19 In the same place. - 62. - L. 68.

stny bodies took steps for acceleration of housing construction. For this purpose in days of the New Economic Policy the creation of zhiltrest was characteristic. One of such trusts existed in the Valuysky County where in 1927 the workers received apartments in the houses built at the expense of fund for improvement of life of workers: workers of creamery No. 5 -

8 apartments, working mills No. 1 - 12 apartments, working mills No. 2 - 18 apartments, working mills No. 3 - 10 apartments. In 1928 zhiltresty the Valuysky County 130 houses (area of 11,177 sq.m) in operation under apartments by the worker and sluzhashchim20 were leased. Thus, the trend of increase in growth of scales of housing construction was outlined in the second half of the 20th.

In general in the 20th of the 20th century the labor unions actively participated in the solution of issues of improvement of social services industry of workers and employees at the enterprises of the Black Earth. Their activity had not only economic, but also first of all political value as for the first time in the history of the country of a problem of quality and the standard of living of workers began to decide in a complex as the system of measures which is carried out by joint efforts of public organizations, public and economic organizations, including issues of social insurance, medical care and improvement of domestic conditions.





Belgorod State University

The article contains the analysis of the main trends of the trade unions activities in improvement of the workers social conditions at the enterprises of the Chermozem region. It shows that the introduction of the system of social insurance has led to the rise in living standards of the workers as well as to the more effective usage of resources for the step-up in production. The service of the insured has also been improved by means of bringing near the apparatus of the employment exchange. And the benefit payouts have been effected directly at the enterprises. It is ascertained in the article that the existence of mutual aid funds has helped to improve the economic conditions of the lower-income workers.

20 GABO. - F. R-427. - Op. 1. - 47. - L. 65.
Jerry Thompson
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