The Soviet leadership today announced new measures to improve labor discipline, introducing a combination of penalties and benefits to create a material difference between good workers and those who are lazy or inefficient.
The announcement in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda was interpreted by Western specialists here as another step in President Yuri Andropov's efforts to revive the stagnating economy. The new regulations instruct managers to reward good workers through financial incentives including housing, recreational and health benefits.
For lazy and inefficient workers, however, the regulations provide a series of tough new penalties including demotion, loss of regular income or dismissal.
The regulations were adopted jointly by the Soviet government, the Communist Party Central Committee and the Soviet trade unions. Pravda said labor discipline was not the object of a temporary campaign by the new leadership but rather a strategic social objective.
The measures appear to supplement a new labor law adopted two months ago. The legislation extended the rights of workers to influence management policy but included an equally strong emphasis on labor discipline and responsibility.
They also follow a series of economic reforms introduced last month in several sectors of the economy. These partial reforms are aimed at boosting labor productivity, economic efficiency and the quality of industrial goods by giving local managers more independence and increasing financial rewards for workers.
While the new regulations restate Moscow's newly discovered value of financial and other incentives, the list of penalties announced today is more extensive than ever before. They include:
* Workers absent without good cause lose a day of vacation for every day missed at work. Those absent for more than three hours on a given day will be regarded as not having worked that day at all.
* Those guilty of loafing or drunkenness can be demoted to lower paying jobs. A worker found drunk on the job may be summarily dismissed.
* Those workers dismissed for drunkenness or laziness who find a new job will be eligible for only one half of their normal monthly bonuses for a period of up to six months at their new place of employment.
* Those directly responsible for lost or damaged production will be required to pay compensation, to be deducted up to a figure of one third of their monthly salary. Any damage caused by drunkenness will have to be paid for in full.
Pravda said breaches of labor discipline have been inflicting "big losses" in industry. It warned that the government bureaucracy is expected to set an example of efficiency.
"The fact remains that certain employes in the hierarchy of the ministries and other managerial and executive divisions . . . do not set an example of discipline, proper organization of their work or full use of their working time," the newspaper said .
Having inherited an economy plagued by inefficiency, widespread corruption and a demoralized work force, Andropov in January mounted a campaign to restore industrial discipline by nationwide police and vigilante raids on malingering workers. This frightened citizens into spending more time on the job and less time goofing off, shopping or running personal errands.
That campaign has been credited, at least in part, with improving industrial performance during the first half of this year. It was clear, however, that it could not be sustained for long. The new regulations now give authorities economic and legal tools, previously not in existence here, to systematically enforce labor discipline.