President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shmakov, if you noticed, yesterday some of the topics we discussed in the past were reflected in the Address to some extent.
Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) Mikhail Shmakov: Not only did I notice this, but I noticed it with great optimism because many decisions were really long overdue.
However, the main thing is, as you noted, that only consistent and steady economic development would give us more opportunity to resolve these social issues more effectively.
I noted, in particular, that pensioners’ extra benefits should be above the basic pension level. These payments should not just create a subsistence level for pensioners but should be above this level.
Vladimir Putin: Otherwise, it is not a new solution.
Mikhail Shmakov: Absolutely. This is the first point. Secondly, as you emphasised, this does not meet the needs of the pensioners and those that will see the latest decisions. When they apply them to their own incomes it appears that they will not gain anything, and in some cases they would even lose.
Vladimir Putin: It looks like manipulation…
Mikhail Shmakov: Absolutely so.
I have one more issue to discuss, that this approach is applied to those who are still working as well. At the end of 2017, the Constitutional Court handed down a decision that all compensation and incentives should be over and above the minimum wage.
Nevertheless, we have not yet finished disputing this with the Government. The Government still insists that the amount can be less than the minimum wage and hence it is only possible to reach the minimum wage with these benefits.
This is completely at odds with the Constitutional Court ruling, with common sense and the approach that is now being adopted to pensioners.
Therefore, we would like to address this again with you to discuss the problem so steps can be taken to resolve it.
Vladimir Putin: All right, we will discuss it now because the question is certainly raised correctly. Meanwhile, I have to point out that the Constitutional Court ruling you mentioned applies only to those who work in the Far North.
Mikhail Shmakov: Not quite…
Vladimir Putin: This is what is written in the ruling. It dealt with benefits for those who work in the north. But this does not mean that we should not think about this problem as a whole. Let us review it and we will issue new instructions to the Government.
Mikhail Shmakov: Of course, it should be analysed attentively again, because it is not quite right to say that the amount can be below the minimum wage.