Labor in the Soviet Union

By Solomon M. Schwarz | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
HOURS AND WORKING CONDITIONS

General Attitude. -- The Seven-Hour Day. -- Continuous Work Week. -- Labor Protection on the Wane: (a) Breakdown of the General Limitation of Hours; (b) Deterioration of Protection of Female Labor; (c) Decline of Safety Standards; (d) Ineffecutal Labor Inspection. -- Curtailment Measures of 1940. -- Wartime and Postwar Development. -- Appendix: Conflict Between Unions and Economic Authorities Over Protection of Labor, 1935.


General Attitude

Limitations of hours; protection of the worker's life and health from occupational hazards; special protection for working women and children; safeguards established by law, adopted by administrative practice, supervised by free labor organizations of the workers' own choosing; labor inspectors to enforce legislative and administrative codes--this is the traditional program for the protection of labor, the objective which organized labor and many non-labor champions of social reform have been fighting for ever since "factory laws" appeared on the horizon of modern industrial society.

It is in this sense that "protection of labor" had been one of the main objectives of Soviet labor policy from its early days. It is impossible within the scope of this book to describe the system in its entirety, or to relate its evolution. That would call for a major study of its own. Here we can only deal with the characteristic changes that have occurred in the Russian system of working conditions since the initiation of the Five-Year Plan policy.

When maximum production came to be the guiding principle and the essence of all social and economic endeavors, the

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