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VII. OCEAN FREIGHT RATES ON ANTHRACITE COAL FROM SOVIET
The freight costs to transport Russian anthracite from its principal point of export (Mariupol) to the North Atlantic coast of the United States are given by soviet publications as follows (per ton).20
$3.41 4. 02 4. 14
According to a statement issued by the coal division of the Department of Commerce, the ocean freight rate on Donetz anthracite to United States ports north of Hatteras ranged from about $3.50 to $4 through the early part of 1930. A bulletin called The International Coal Trade Situation, issued by the United States Department of Commerce quotes later ocean freight rates on Donetz anthracite to ports north of Hatteras as follows (dates shown are dates of the bulletin): Aug. 18, 1930.
$3. 10-$3. 16 Sept. 16, 1930 (a particular cargo)
3. 20 Nov. 15, 1930 (a particular cargo)
VIII. TECHNICAL CONDITIONS OF DONETZ COAL MINES
In 1929 a commission composed of representatives of the Soviet Government, labor unions, and other interested Russian groups made an investigation of the technical conditions of the Donetz coal mines. The report was published in the Russian official mining journal.21 The following account is an abstract of parts of this report, and also includes information published (apparently under the auspices of the Soviet Government) in a monograph 22 by an experienced Russian observer
1. Machine mining.-A very great effort has been made to introduce machine mining in the Donetz Basin. Machine production increa from 200,000 tons in 1922-23 to 5,515,000 tons in 1927–28,22 and to 7,620,000 tons in 1928–29. The percentage of Donetz Basin coal mined by machines has been as follows: 1927-28 21
22. 9 1928–29 21
30. 2 1929–30 23
39. 8 The following table shows, up to 1927–28, the number of coal-cutting machines in the Donetz Basin, and the average annual output per machine.
20 Quoted by Russian Economic Notes, Dec. 27, 1929, p. 3. Converted from English currency at par or $4.8665 to the pound sterling.
21 Gorni Zhurnal, October, 1929, p. 1757.
22 Liberman, Lev; Trud i Byt, Moscow, 1929, p. 98. This is a monograph based on personal observation and the study of records of numerous investigations. The author had before the World War written reports of Russian coal mining.
23 Russian Economic Notes, Dec. 5, 1930, p. 1.
The following table shows the percentage of all the technical personnel which was in each salary grade:
Salaries of engineering-technical personnel in Donetz Basin, 1928 1
Rubles per month:
Not over 150..
age of total en gineers
7, 8 28. 2 27. 7 17. 9 9. 3 4. 6 2. 2 1. 3
100.0 A number of observers have stated that the technical directors of industry in Russia experience many difficulties and hardships in endeavoring to train and organize the inexperienced workmen who look with suspicion on all who would exert authority:48 Efforts are being made to furnish technical training to foremen and mechanicians.49
3. Efficiency of workers.- Production per man in the Russian coal mines in the Donetz Basin is low. The following table shows the output per workman per month in the Donetz Basin:
Tons of coal produced per month, per worker, in “Donougol” coal trust 50 1921-22
5. 8 1922–23
5. 3 1923–24.
7. 2 1924-25.
8. 7 1925–26.
10. 5 1926-27
11. 5 1927–28.
In the Pennsylvania anthracite mines the average output per man per day in 1929 was 1.93 tons. 51 For a month of 25 days the American average output per man would be 48 tons compared with slightly over 12 tons in the Donetz Basin. Moreover, but a small percentage of the Pennsylvania production is obtained by machines. The Russian production per workman is, however, increasing. A comparison of machine cutting shows that the Russian efficiency is only half of that in the Ruhr mines.52 Neglect of the machines in Russia and their unorganized distribution lead to inefficient utilization of the available equipment. Some machines stand idle for weeks and even months for lack of separate parts or because of inadequate repairs. 53
Col. Hugh L. Cooper, an American engineer, who is directing the construction of a large electrical power plant in Russia on the Dnieper River says of the Russian workman: : 54
1 Gorni Zhurnal, March, 1929, p. 335. 48 cf. Chamberlain, Wm. H., Soviet Russia, Boston, 1930, p. 160. 49 La Vie Economique des Soviets, May 20, 1929, p.7. 60 La Vie Économique des Soviets, May 20, 1929, p. 7. 01 Department of Commerce, Bureau of Mines, Statement issued Aug. 23, 1930. 52 Trud i Byt., p. 98. 53 Russian Economic Notes, July 18, 1930, p. 4. 54 In Williamstown Institute of Politics, Proceedings, Aug. 1 and 2, 1930, p. 7.
Our first year's experience in teaching the Russian workman to use American construction equipment which cost $3,000,000, was filled with much heartache and discouragement. The performances of the workmen have so improved that. there is now no doubt in my mind as to the capacity of Russian labor to be eventually trained to an efficient performance in any line of skilled work that future industrial needs may require.
4. Labor unions.-The latest available published information on the Donetz miners' unions is a report of a personal investigation made by John Strachey, former editor of the English mining journal, The Miner. Mr. Strachey's report was published in 1928. Except where otherwise stated the statements in this section are from his report. It says of the Donetz union:
The basic unit on which it is built up is what we should call the “lodge” or "branch.” This is an industrial unit, organizing all the men working in a particular mine or group of mines. These are “Rudnicks”
There is a complex structure of committees and subcommittees both above and below these "Rudnick” lodges.
The Miners' Union is a centralized industrial union. It is an industrial union because it takes in all the workers on the pay rolls of the mining economic organs, whether they are engaged in clericai work
or in hewing coal and it is a centralized union because it has one single central committee controlling the major portions of its financial resources.
The basic work of a trade-union in Russia is to conclude collective agreements covering the wages, hours, conditions (i. e., work clothes, holidays, order of hiring and discharge, etc.) of its members with the management. These collective agreements are made with the group of Rudnick managements; but, at the same time, the union is in close touch with the other economic organs, and it has the right to have submitted to it plans for development, etc.
The trade-union has a considerable voice in the selection of the managing personnel of the mines.
Membership in the union, according to Mr. Strachey's report, is not compulsory 56 but, because of the privileges accompanying the membership, most of the regular workers of the industry belong to the union.
There are many rules and regulations covering discipline, but, because of the strong position of the workers, the rules do not appear to be well enforced. Especially the tremendous turnover of workers described elsewhere, the willingness of the workers to quit, the hordes of inexperienced peasants entering the mines,57 and the necessity of holding as many workers as possible can not fail to break down a strict discipline.
5. Hours of work and wages.---The underground worker in the Donetz mines works six hours a day.58 In some, if not all, mines the continuous week has been adopted. In such cases the miner works five days a week. Definite information has not been obtained as to the hours of work of the aboveground workers. They are either seven or eight hours. Underground workers receive an annual vacation of a month with pay.58 Other workers receive a vacation of two weeks with pay:59
The average monthly wages in the Donetz Basin in 1927-28 were 64 rubles, and in 1928–29, 70 rubles. According to plan they will be
65 Strachey, John, Workers' Control in the Russian Mining Industry, London, 1928, pp. 16–18.
$8 According to a statement of the U.S. Department of Commerce relative to Soviet Russia, “all workers belong to unions and no nonunion labor is permitted.” (“Report on Labor in the Coal fields of Soviet Russia.")
37 Cf. La Vie Economique des Soviets, May 20, 1930, p. 6. $8 Trud i Byt. p. 108. 19 Economic Review of Soviet Union, Apr. 15, 1930, p. 150.
about 75 rubles in 1929–30.60 Face miners receive about 4 rubles per
The worker is also insured against sickness, accident, old age, and unemployment, the expenses of such insurance being paid by the Coal Trust or state. These insurances cost the employers about 15 per cent of the total pay roll.63 Most workers in the coal fields pay either a nominal rent for housing or none at all. Electric light, fuel, and other municipal services and a considerable amount of working clothes are supplied free of charge or at a very low rate. Restaurants subsidized by the administration supply food at low cost. It is asserted that all these additional benefits amount to 50 per cent of the wages.
X. SOCIAL CONDITIONS
1. Housing.-The Soviet Government in the 2-year period from 1926 to 1928, spent 70,000,000 rubles for improved housing in the Don Basin,65' and the construction of new housing is continuing. The new buildings consist of new flats for families and dormitories for single men. The typical new apartment building is a 2-story structure containing 2-4 flats. The typical flat has 2 rooms with a surface of 30 square meters, a kitchen of about 8 square meters, and a toilet room of one square meter. Some apartments have bath rooms.66 Many of the new houses are equipped with water and electric light, but the drainage system is deficient. In practice many. 1-room dwellings remain.87 The houses are heated in the usual Russian way, by central stoves, one stove heating two or three rooms.67
Numerous dormitories for single men have been constructed. The new dormitories allow a surface of 13 square meters per man. Seventy per cent of the coal miners in Russia lived in "company' buildings. In the Donetz Basin on October 1, 1929, the floor area per coal miner who was living in company buildings was 4.64 square meters (about 5 square yards).
It was hoped that during the current year it would be possible to increase the housing accommodations to 4.75 square meters of floor space per coal miner in the Donetz Basin.
However, the high turnover of labor in this industry made it impossible to carry out the measures for the improvement of housing facilities, 69
There is much crowding, and housing conditions are unsatisfactory.?
2. Family budgets and food.-In 1928 the budgets of 37 representative mining families were investigated by a committee of the labor union. The average yearly income per family studied was 758 rubles in 1927.71
60 Gorni Zhurnal, October, 1929, p. 1760.
The sources of income in percentages were as follows:
Sources of income of mining family of Donetz Basin, 1927 72
Per cent 78. 0 6. 6 5. 2 10. 2
100. O The following table shows in percentages the distribution of expenditure of the families studied:
The supplies of clothing and other articles received do not depend wholly on the wages received. Many goods are rationed. A qualified observer writes of Russia in 1930:
There is no essential product to-day that is not being rationed. Not only is the food supply controlled by bread cards but the textile supply is also limited to a certain maximum per individu il. Meat can be procured only with cards and then in very small quantities. The same thing is true of shoes, milk, medicine, cigarettes, and tobacco. Soap is virtually unobtainablə.73
A statement in the Soviet Press says of the Donetz Basin:
The cooperative stores have plainly been unable to supply the workers with goods needed by them.74
With regard to food it is stated that poor families in the Donetz Basin live mostly on potatoes, bread, and fats, but that the better paid can afford butter, sugar, fruit, milk, eggs, candy, and fish.75 In recent months of 1930 there has been much complaint of the insufficient supplies and poor quality of food furnished in the Doentz Basin,
72 Ibid, p. 112. 73 Nikolaus Basseches in The Living Age, Sept., 1930, p. 21. 74 Russian Economic Notes, Oct. 10, 1930, p. 2. 15 Trud i Byt, p. 114. 76 Izvestia, and other Russian newspapers.