Organized Recruitment of Workers

Organized Recruitment of Workers


in the USSR, one form of the planned redistribution of labor resources among different regions and different branches of industry. It is used by the state to provide the labor force required by the national economy and to satisfy the able-bodied population’s need for jobs—that is, it serves as a job placement system for citizens.

The organized recruitment of workers began in the early 1930’s at a time when unemployment was being eliminated, rural overpopulation was being overcome, and the manpower needs of industry, construction, and transport had sharply increased because of the country’s growing industrialization. Before the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, about 3 million kolkhoz workers, who as a rule lacked industrial skills, were assigned annually to jobs in industry, construction, and transport through organized recruitment. The bulk of this labor force met the increased needs of factories and construction sites during the busy seasons. After working for a short while in industry and construction, many returned to the kolkhozes. In that period, the territorial redistribution of labor resources through organized recruitment was carried out primarily in the European part of the USSR.

In the postwar years the scale of organized recruitment was considerably reduced. The chief reasons for this change were that permanent cadres of workers had been trained in industry and construction, seasonal fluctuations in production had diminished, and the need to attract unskilled labor had accordingly decreased. The organized recruitment of workers became a method for meeting personnel requirements at factories and construction sites of high economic importance located mainly in the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East. Recruitment contracts were made primarily with urban residents employed in relevant sectors of the economy and having particular skills.

Since 1967 the organized recruitment of workers has been managed by state committees for the utilization of labor resources under the councils of ministers of the Union republics. In the oblasts and krais the responsible organs are the appropriate departments of the executive committees of the soviets, and in the autonomous republics the boards of the councils of ministers. The quotas for organized recruitment are set by the national economic plans.

Members of the able-bodied population are recruited for plant and construction work on a strictly voluntary basis. The contract for seasonal work is made for just a season. Contracts for regular work are for at least one year, except in the Far East, where the minimum term is two years, and the Far North, where the minimum is three years. Persons signing a labor recruitment contract are paid a one-time grant and are given a per diem allowance for the period of travel to the job. They and members of their family are guaranteed free passage with no charge for baggage to the job site. Workers coming to a factory are provided with housing and access to cultural, educational, medical, and social service facilities. The factory administration is obliged to train the workers in the necessary skills and to provide the workers with the means to increase their qualifications. Upon the expiration of the contract, the factory pays the cost of the worker’s return trip to his or her place of permanent residence. If the factory administration violates the terms of the contract, the worker has the right to cancel the agreement.