18 june 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the Avtodizel diesel engine plant in Yaroslaval, inspects plans for the facility’s modernisation and talks with workers


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the Avtodizel diesel engine plant in Yaroslavl, where he was shown a standard workplace. The prime minister asked about the average monthly wages at the facility and was told that wages depend on the production area but the average is around 18,000 roubles.

Avtodizel general director Viktor Kadylkin told the prime minister about the management's efforts in the past months to cope with the downturn. According to Mr Kadylkin, the production facility was carrying out an investment project in order to produce the next generation of Yamaz-530 engines, which will be certified according to the Euro 4 emission standards. This project will allow the plant to create 1,000 jobs in Yaroslavl next year, and, if all goes well, another 1,200 jobs by 2012, added Mr Kadylkin.

GAZ Group President Bo Andersson told Prime Minister Putin about the plans to develop the production facilities. Mr Andersson also complained about the high customs duties on imported equipment, saying that the current circumstances make it more profitable to import finished products into Russia than to manufacture them in the country.

In response, the prime minister said that the customs duties cannot be reduced solely at the discretion of the government.

"This depends on the economy and macroeconomic indices," Mr Putin said, adding that the Central Bank's refinancing rate is at a historic low.

"We will encourage commercial banks to cut their rates as well," he said.

The prime minister then said that the Russian government has a plan concerning customs duties on imported equipment for export-oriented enterprises. "We will follow through on this plan," emphasised Mr Putin.

As the prime minister left the plant's first production area, he met an employee at the facility, Nikolai Shutrov, who had posted a letter on the prime minister's official website. Mr Shutrov wrote in the letter that the prime minister would only be shown the newest production areas, whereas working conditions in some other production areas were much worse.

The prime minister invited the Mr Shutrov to ride with him in his car to one of the facility's metalworking production areas to see the working conditions there. Outside the metalworking production area, Putin spoke with the workers standing at the gates. He said that working conditions at the facility were neither the worst nor the best he had seen.

"I have visited many different production facilities; some of them were like yours and others were worse. Of course, the conditions at your facility are not the best," Putin told the workers, adding that the production area was built 50 years ago.

"I was just at another production facility, Komatsu, where heavy machinery is produced," he said. "Working conditions there are quite different; the plant is clean, nice and not very noisy."

The prime minister also said that last year had been difficult for Avtodizel, and that the plant's future was in question. The government has provided financial assistance to the production facility, but the management and shareholders also deserved credit for helping improve the situation at the plant, he said.

"They have a 15 billion rouble modernisation plan, eight billion of which have already been invested," Putin said. He expressed his hope that this plan would be implemented and emphasised that production facilities such as Avtodizel must be modernised, and that good working conditions should be put in place.

After leaving the plant, the prime minister was shown several vehicles with Avtodizel engines. He was also told about a next-generation engine being built for the Defence Ministry.

Finally, Vladimir Putin was informed about the Volk armoured vehicles produced at Avtodizel in conjunction with the Defence Ministry. He inspected one vehicle and even climbed into its cabin.