Overt the last three years AvtoVAZ cut almost 17,000 workers and employees. In total, the city is home to around eight hundred thousand people. Togliatti has been recently officially recognized as a monotown, and unofficially everything has always been revolving around the car plant: the life, death and money.
The citizens do not believe that only 740 workers would be fired; at the plant they say that the number will be at least two thousand. Nicolas Moore voiced a denial: "We're not going to have any serious program to reduce staff," said the president of "AvtoVAZ" and promised each dismissed person a new job. The citizens don't believe it, either.
It is very difficult, almost impossible to talk to someone among the surviving plant workers, they all have obligation not to disclose commercial information, they are afraid of losing their jobs. Only a long personal acquaintance makes probable a conversation of this kind, and even then with lots of conventions.
- In fact, it's very easy to figure out who I am, if you write that we studied together. And mention where, said my interlocutor. He is talking on the phone. I'm trying to set up an appointment. The interviewer does not really want it.
- I'll confuse them, I promise. I will say that you taught me at accounting courses.
- If you write, my interlocutor insists, how many children I have and what's their sex, and all at once understood, everybody will understand.
- I will lie. I'll say you've got four kids, all of them girls.
- Not four girls! My interlocutor is frighened. Then everyone will think that's an engineer from the neighbouring department, he would be fired, and that's mean. Do not come. I've nothing to say to you.
In the end, I'm still going in Togliatti, where I'll have to find the first VAZ Palace of Culture and somewhere near the pub called "Bucket of Nails". The Palace of Culture is bulky, with contours like the Lenin's mausoleum, only bigger and uglier.
"Bucket of Nails" is stylized as the British phone booth - red facade and stylized window. At the entrance, the jukebox. The beams of dark wood, cast-iron battery with floral ornaments. Half a liter of beer costs 400 rubles. Croutons with garlic, seventy. Chicken breast, three hundred.
The pub is rather empty. A girl in a baseball cap visor back sits near the stand. She tells the bartender, that if today she's not given her salary, in the weekend she will have to go to her grandmother in Zhigulevsk. "It is necessary to have something," she said.
My friend appears, looking around like a spy, along with an unknown woman in mohair old hat such as earlier loved by nurses in children's clinics.
- I've thought, he says, that I will not communicate with you. I do not need this. Every month I have to pay twelve thousand for the mortgage, and it's another five years. Five years later, come!
I stutter with anger.
- So why the hell did I lose time to come to your silly Togliatti?
- And that's Lena! My comrade joyfully shoves me into a mohair hat woman. Lena Seregina. She's been fired. In the past year. She will tell you everything. And I'll go. Frankly, I am even scared of sitting with you.
- Two years ago I was fired, says Lena Seregina with melancholy. First, I was transferred to the forty-ninth workshop as a laborer. And I'm qualified, fifteen years on the painting line. The whole technological process I know by heart. Pre-treatment, deposition of functional layers, applying the coating materials. Electrochemical series of metals stress! A laborer is there to clean up the garbage. unload parts. Dispose of defective parts. Well, and salary, of course. Much lower.
Lena gets excited:
- I was a shift supervisor at the priming line! Had forty thousand! They even paid extra for professional skills. Additional food stamps. Thirty rubles for lunch subtracted ninety factory pay extra and supplementary a second lunch, or sour cream or butter to take home.
- Now they're cutting the bonus for professional skills, - says the secret friend. - Individual performance, that is. Press production foreman told them in the past year 966% of the payment for the quarter was divided by 40 people. Now 860% is left. By the end of the year there will be nothing at all. And "Industrial Park"? We are being pressed to move from the plant to some subsidiary company and other trash. A certain "Industrial Park". What is it, nobody really knows, but all women in the decree, in the first place, are offer to extend it for another year, or say, "We will transfer you to the Park," they nod and agree. And it means unskilled labor, some painting. But they rattle that the average salary in the AvtoVAZ is 35 thousand!
The newspaper Volzhsky Avtosrtoiteley lists job offers for internal transfer from the unloaded shops to the functional ones:
Caster, cutter. Three shifts. Average salary of 23-25 thousand rubles. Contact the housing 20, office. 317.
Painter. Two shifts. Average salary of 22 thousand rubles.
Locksmith, serviceman, Thermistor. Two shifts. The average salary of 19 and 21 thousand rubles.
Lena asks for beer. Hasn't been drinking it for ages. For the third year Lena works in a flower booth in the Old Man (old town, Togliatti slang). The third year can not warm his hands - shows me red chilly fingers. Fingers shaking noticeably. The joints are swollen. She has eight hours to twist bouquets in a cold room, cold water.
- It's disgusting, of course, - says Lena, - previously I was proud of being a working woman. Believed the city to be my house! Everything here was mine, my plant. Even the bus was my carriage. Now, from my house to the plant there's only one route left. Thirteenth. I had to stand and wait. Transportation cards are not accepted in the shuttle buses.
- Well, not the worst outcome, says my friend. Work found. Flowers, petals. And Slava ...
They are silent in some special way. Slava was a high-class welder, two years before he was fired "as agreed", moved to work in shifts somewhere near Surgut. Had to go on the train.
- Got drunk, hit by a train, both legs amputated, says Lena.
Our table is approached by the man in the bandana romping over the graying of hair. The man said that he was sorry about overhearing. In this city, he says, all the talks are about the plant:
- I have spent fifteen years as an engineer. From 1991 to 2006. Gloomy memories, communicating system, idiocy, late for 2-3 minutes, punished, and then the whole day doing nothing. Huge wild crowds rushed into the dining room, to eat their own and somebody else's food. Dining halls, huge glass rooms, the size of the concert hall, the tables in long rows. Meal ticket for a penny. In the design bureau, long rows of drawing boards, old ladies, waiting for the retirement ... I understood, that if I get a computer, I can do all of their monthly job (60 people) in a single day. But it was no use to anyone, hard pressure, as in the snake's den.
I remember bandits on the line that divided the cars among themselves - put mark son the windshield pillars ... the VAZ bosses bowed to them. Workers, who got their cars, tracked the vehicle on the conveyor, paid at every step for it to be assembled as it should, with good parts used.
My friend says, suddenly bold, as if not being there in secret:
- Both AvtoVAZ, and the city itself became obsolete long ago.
- Inside the plant everything is quiet, it's scary behind the fence, says the man in the bandana, who called himself Airat. That's another reason nobody likes the plant: all live in fear. You're fired, being intrigued against, fired and intrigued. In good times there, of course, it was better than anywhere else: social security, kindergartens, trips ... But now the employees hold on to a job already in despair.
- Not all can do it, - says Lena, and with one big gulp finishes her beer.
Press service of AvtoVAZ informs that according to results of 2016 the loss of the company on international accounting standards amounted to 44 billion 800 million rubles.