Production brigade (виробнича бригада; vyrobnycha bryhada). A group of workers in the Soviet system who worked together and shared responsibility for a single production assignment. The brigadier, who in addition to the usual job led the brigade, received extra pay for doing so. The purpose of the brigade system was to divide labor and responsibilities more rationally and to improve productivity. There were two types of brigades in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: specialized brigades, in which workers of the same trade worked at similar jobs, and integrated brigades, in which workers of different trades worked at different jobs on a single project. Both forms of brigade could involve shift work. The brigade was paid according to its contract with an enterprise: a part of its earnings depended on the number of hours worked and the skill level, and a part on the result of the collective effort.
Production brigades became popular in the USSR in the late 1970s and were modeled on the brigades of the Volga Automobile Plant. They averaged 100 to 300 members each and were credited with increasing productivity by 15–20 percent and wages by 7–8 percent. Although they were generally popular with workers, especially the highly skilled workers, they were often opposed by the more traditional ministries and enterprises.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]
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