Labor Discipline

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Discipline, Labor


the system of organizational relations, fixed by law and other social norms, within whose limits joint labor activity proceeds. The nature of labor discipline is determined by the type of relations of production. Under feudalism, labor discipline is based on outright coercion. In bourgeois society, where the worker is forced to sell his labor to the capitalist, labor discipline is compulsory in nature. The perpetual threat of dismissal, as well as dismissal itself, is employed as the basic measure to maintain labor discipline.

The socialist system creates a new labor discipline. “The communist organization of social labor, the first step toward which is socialism, rests and will do so more as time goes on, on the free and conscious discipline of the working people themselves” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 39, p. 14). Lenin directly linked the strengthening of labor discipline to the possibility of building socialism: he noted that “only the strictest organization and labor discipline will lead us to socialism” (ibid., vol. 36, p. 258). The combination of social and personal interests and the subordination of personal interests to social interests are the basis for socialist labor discipline.

The requirements of labor discipline in socialist society are obligatory for all workers. In the USSR the obligation to observe labor discipline is firmly established by the Constitution of 1936 (art. 130). The content of this obligation is given concrete form in labor legislation, the office and factory labor regulations, disciplinary codes, collective agreements, and occupational and technical instructions.

In the period of the construction of communism, the strengthening of labor discipline in the USSR is of enormous importance for the proper organization of labor and the education of conscientious citizens. The violation of labor discipline, even by individual workers, inflicts material harm on production and on the national economy of the USSR as a whole. Education in the new communist attitude toward labor and the formation and strengthening of conscious labor discipline constitutes a complex, protracted process. “To build a new labor discipline, to build new forms of social ties among people, to build new forms and means of enlisting people in work—that is the work of many years and decades” (Lenin, ibid., vol. 40, p. 316). In the USSR the high level of organization is characteristic for most workers with their socialist attitude toward work, but serious violations of labor discipline are still encountered; these are connected to surviving vestiges of the past in the consciousness of certain workers and are manifested in unconscientious attitudes toward work. The socialist nature of labor discipline in the USSR predetermines the methods by which that discipline is strengthened: the basic methods are those of persuasion, the development of socialist emulation, the consistent implementation of the socialist principle of material incentives, the establishment of privileges and preferences for workers who achieve success in their work, and measures of moral encouragement (honorable mention, awards, and so forth). Measures of social and disciplinary influence are applied to those who violate labor discipline. Collective means of influence, including censure at workers’ meetings and comrades’ courts, are widely used to deal with violators of labor discipline.

The persistent, day-to-day struggle to enhance socialist labor discipline is combined with constant concern for the improvement of labor conditions for workers; the rational organization of labor, production, and management; and the rapid introduction into production of the achievements of science and technology. In this way the conditions for strengthening labor discipline are created.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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