Brick factory tour


From the "Ukrainian Beauty" series

In villages in Western Ukraine, jobs are in scant supply. As a result, most people migrate away in search of work. The small numbers of businesses which manage to operate in these regions can consequently get away with more or less any form of worker exploitation. 

This series of photographs came about during a silent guided tour of a modern brick factory in the Carpathians, where more or less all the employees are women, because their husbands spend the majority of the year working away from home in different countries.

Another reason is that the men are less able to put up with the repetitive physical strain of constantly loading the kilns. Factories with this type of arched coal-fired kiln were quite common in the first half and in the middle of the 20th century.

Today, the cheap price of coal and the low cost of manual labour means they are surfacing once again in Ukraine. These small businesses do not offer contracts, the working day is not standardised, there is absolutely no safety equipment, and there are no social safeguards. 

This series of photographs was published in Spilne, the journal of social critique, and for the project Labor and the labor movement in UkraineArchive and research.

RUS / Detailed commentary of Yevgenia Belorusets (rus) "Показывая кирпичный завод"