Jobs in Russia lifeline for folks in Narva

Irina Tokareva
, ajakirjanik
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Photo: Mati Hiis / Õhtuleht

How many exactly work in Russia, from Narva, nobody knows. Hundreds, presumably. Still, this they consider a temporary solution, preferring to work in Estonia. For years, however, employment has evaded them in own home town.

The biggest employer for inhabitants of Narva in Russia is Yura Corporation Rus. In its plant at Ivangorod, brake systems are made for the South-Korean car-maker Hyundai. By the staff department of Yura Corporation Rus, Postimees was told that they currently employ about 130 people from Narva – all citizens of Russia.

Vladimir, from Narva and working at Yura Corporation Rus for fourth year, says the company is in constant need for fresh labour force. «But only the decent people keep their jobs. The drunks and the lazy are fired fast,» he adds.

Vladimir likes the work: «The rumours that it’s forced labour and that the Koreans squeeze the last drop of blood out of you, these are not true. The work is peaceful, the working conditions are good, I get about 30,000 roubles net, about €600.» For him, it’s easier now that, starting this year, the tougher customs requirements have done away with the waiting lines on the border: he now gets to work three times faster.

Even so, Vladimir has to point out the dark side: working in Ivangorod, he isn’t having the pensions count ticking in Estonia, neither does he have Estonian health insurance. «I also cannot get a loan in Estonia: nearly all credit institutions want the salary to come to an Estonian bank. I would feel socially more secured with an official job in Estonia. For many years now I have been unable to find work in Narva, for which I could get €600–700. The value of the rouble has indeed fallen, but still the work in Ivangorod is the best variant.»

Vladimir is sure that in Russia – Ust-Luga or Petersburg – even better paid jobs would be available. Then, however, he would have to stay away from the family for long periods of time or move away from Narva altogether – which Vladimir doesn’t want.

Irina, also from Narva, worked for three years at Yura Corporation Rus, as operator. «I liked the work: stable, not too much tension,» she said. «The superiors respected me, I even received certificate of honour as the best worker. I received €300 a month after taxes.»

Now, Irina has been unemployed for a year – since the time that the contract between Yura Corporation Rus and Baltic Consulting expired, based on which the plant rented labour force from Narva. «I had a labour contract with Baltic Consulting. As the company closed doors, I could only have kept on working at the plant if I had registered as inhabitant somewhere in Ivangorod, but I do not have friends or relatives there who would have agreed to a thing like that.»

Vadim Orlov, board member at Baltic Consulting, says that the company indeed ceased renting labour force a year ago. «Via our company, mainly the gray-passport people from Narva got jobs at the plant. A year ago, Russia made it harder to employ people without Russian citizenship, and mediation made no sense anymore.»

According to Mr Orlov, about 300 people were employed in Ivangorod via Baltic Consulting.

According to Alla Ojavere, Narva bureau head at unemployment insurance fund Töötukassa, most of the Narva people who worked in Ivangorod Baltic Consulting are now listed as unemployed – just like Irina. Ms Ojavere said there is great interest among people in Narva towards working in Russia.

Tax Board statistics do not correctly reflect the number of those working in Russia. In 2012, only 167 inhabitants of Estonia declared constant income in Russia.