‘If we called them up, it means we must think about the soldiers’ families too’

Chelny enterprises introduced monthly payouts equal to the average salary for mobilised men following KAMAZ

‘If we called them up, it means we must think about the soldiers’ families too’
Photo: Maxim Platonov/realnoevremya.ru

As Realnoe Vremya learnt, most large companies of Naberezhnye Chelny decided to support their workers mobilised for the special military operation financially. In addition to state payouts and benefits, the enterprises make monthly payments equal to the average salary from 30,000 to 50,000 rubles. “Many are paying: Akulchev, Naberezhnye Chelny Cardboard and Paper Mill Plant, TEMPO — tens of enterprises in Chelny conserved the salary and are ready to pay it until they are back,” Mayor of the city Nail Magdeyev told our newspaper. However, not all employers of the city rush to join the voluntary initiative, but they aren’t forced to. Though some regions have tried to fix “the goodwill act” with governors’ decrees.

Who pays “civil salaries” to mobilised men

Big employers of Naberezhnye Chelny launched an initiative to support the workers who went to the area of the special military operation. They continue to monthly pay them the average salary even though their work agreement was frozen. Moreover, the employers are paying not only who were conscripted after 21 September when partial mobilisation was announced in Russia but also volunteers of Tatarstan battalions Timer and Alga as well as members of Wagner private military group.

“They saw them off and continue paying the salary. Though they aren’t going to work, they are anyway receiving the salary,” Mayor of Naberezhnye Chelny Nail Magdeyev told Realnoe Vremya about paying the average salary to mobilised Chelny men. According to him, the enterprises are paying this money in addition to state payouts and benefits of the Russian Defence Ministry. They are popularly called ‘civil salaries.’”

“Many are paying: Akulchev, Naberezhnye Chelny Cardboard and Paper Mill Plant, TEMPO — tens of enterprises in Chelny conserved the salary and are ready to pay it until they are back,” he enumerated those who splurged on supporting mobilised men’s families. Moreover, the mayor of the city assured us that the salaries would be paid with no time limit: “Until they are back home.” And if the special operation drags into two years, “it means they will pay for two years,” he believes.

He didn’t name the accurate number of mobilised men who are receiving the “civil salary” from the workplace. But more than a thousand people have gone to the front from Naberezhnye Chelny. It is more than from Kazan where the population number is twice as big and from oil-rich Almetyevsk (the population is about 300,000 people).

The management of KAMAZ was the first in Tatarstan to announce the introduction of monthly payouts for mobilised men. Photo: Sergey Afanasyev/realnoevremya.ru

Following KAMAZ’s example

The management of KAMAZ was the first in Tatarstan to announce the introduction of monthly payouts for mobilised men. On 23 September, the company declared the readiness to pay all employees who would be called up within partial mobilisation 50,000 rubles. Also, it made a commitment to save their jobs (federal legislation demands this too).

At the same time, the company deliberately intended to avoid calling the payout of 50,000 rubles monthly. Indeed, mobilised men’s salary can vary between 30,000 and more, while every mobilised man is entitled to the payout of 50,000 rubles regardless of the position. According to the official data, the average salary at KAMAZ in the first half of 2022 was 57,846 rubles.

Apparently, other enterprises of Naberezhnye Chelny supported KAMAZ’s social initiative. The Titov Naberezhnye Chelny Cardboard and Paper Mill Plant announced the introduction of monthly payouts of 30-50,000 rubles for mobilised worked on 30 September.

“The plant’s Supervisory Board decided to support the enterprises’ mobilised workers and their families,” the company claimed. “Nowadays 42 workers of the plant have been conscripted within the partial mobilisation. The enterprise will pay them 30,000 rubles a month and 10,000 rubles monthly for every kid in the mobilised worker’s family.”

Also, the mobilised men are promised to be paid “a New Year reward for previous months of work and dividends for 2022.” But the company couldn’t avoid losses. A death notice of one of the soldiers, the plant’s worker Pavel Zuyev, 35, who died when performing his military duty during the special military operation in Ukraine was received in December. The staff paid their last respects to him on 6 December. He had two children.

Recommended voluntary payouts?

Chelny enterprises haven’t yet commended on the amount and regularity of payouts for the mobilised employees the mayor talked about. According to Chelny-Khleb, seven workers have been called up from the enterprises. Remdiesel defence company said that almost 100% of the workers have an exemption, therefore they don’t have the issue of monthly payouts on the agenda.

In other regions, monthly payouts for mobilised workers were fixed by separate decrees of regional leaders. For instance, the governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast issued a special decree in October where he recommended enterprises to pay the average monthly salary to the soldiers.

According to jurists, enterprises de jure may not pay the salary because the work agreement becomes invalid after a worker is called up for military service during the period of military service (Part 1 Article 351.7 Russian Labour Code). However, they have the right to pay the monthly financial assistance equal to the salary because labour agreements with the mobilised men are in force, noted Vice Director of Legal Issues of the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Naberezhnye Chelny Kausaria Galimullina. She says that according to a mobilised person’s petition, large enterprises (KAMAZ, TEMPO) transfer the financial aid to an account of one of his family members the soldier himself provides. Chelny enterprises voluntarily decided to help the mobilised men’s families, the interlocutor of the newspaper claimed.

Sergey Akulchev about the payouts: “A call of heart”

“Why did we make such a decision? It was a call of heart,” head of the confectionary Sergey Akulchev told Realnoe Vremya about his decision to monthly pay his mobilised employees.

Just two employees have been mobilised in this enterprise, this is why the employer can afford the financial assistance.

“As soon as the start of the partial mobilisation was announced, we immediately gathered and took a set of measures to support mobilised workers. It included a one-time payout of 100,000 rubles, the soldier’s full equipment at the company’s expense. We bought everything: rucksacks, combat boots, even warm clothes,” he said. According to him, they will be paid the “civil salary” until they are back home. “I think it is correct. They will have to fight in tough conditions. We certainly should support them. We can do this for sure. So that they don’t worry about the unpaid loans they have,” he explained.

Also, the company continues supporting the mobilised workers’ families. “We take on the men’s job, for instance, to repair a washing machine or move into another flat. They can call the HR Department, and the assistance will be provided. Hopefully, everything will end soon and everybody will come back safe and sound,” said Sergey Akulchev.

Chelny’s budget spent 100 million rubles on mobilisation

Chelny businesses followed the example of local authorities. As it is known, the city authorities were the first to announce the introduction of five social support measures for the families freeing them from the kindergarten fee, school meals and transport fares. Also, they are exempted from the transport and land taxes.

In addition to this, there were introduced payouts of 100,000 rubles for a baby born to the mobilised man’s family. “The fourth family has been paid. The start day was on 24 September. There is a woman who gave birth on 30 September. I am going to the maternity hospital myself. I have a bunch of flowers in one hand and an envelope for 100,000 in the other. Four babies have been born to the mobilised men’s families since then — two boys and two girls,” said Nail Magdeyev. He remembered a young paratrooper who was allowed to go on leave to Chelny for a day to see the newborn boy. “Have you ever seen a crying paratrooper? I told him then not to cry, otherwise I would have to cry with him.”

There were introduced payouts of 100,000 rubles for a baby born to the mobilised man’s family. Photo: Maxim Platonov/realnoevremya.ru

The Chelny mayor assesses that the total costs of the budget on the support for the mobilised people and their families has surpassed 100 million. “We have spent 98 million on three areas in the last three months, it is only budget expenses. Another 50-60 million are extrabudgetary costs,” he said. “If we called them upon mobilisation as authorities, it means we must think about the soldiers’ families too,” he concluded.

Luiza Ignatyeva

Подписывайтесь на телеграм-канал, группу «ВКонтакте» и страницу в «Одноклассниках» «Реального времени». Ежедневные видео на Rutube, «Дзене» и Youtube.