In the early 1930’s, a massive influx of both skilled and unskilled workers, drove down the efficiency of the labor force. The industrial complex saw its production numbers in some cases cut in half. The projection of 100 billion kilowatts of electricity to be produced in 1937, saw only roughly 38 billion (Freeze, 358). As the international front was becoming increasingly hostile preceding the Second World War, Stalin became aware of the need to “tighten up” the labor force. At the time, the Soviet Union was especially technologically inferior than most of West, and Stalin knew it was crucial to catch up before the onset of another war. The Soviet response was dubbed “labor discipline”.
Labor discipline referred to a variety of workplace attributes. Everything from showing up on time, to following instructions, to staying awake on the job, was considered labor discipline (Seigelbaum, 17 Moments). In essence, Soviet laborers had become lazy, unfocused, and obsessed with alcohol. According to Don Filtzer, this was due to a highly irregular pace of work. Workers would work inconsistent schedules of intense forced overtime followed by opportunities for slacking, leading to a lack of care for quality (Filtzer). If the Soviet Union was going to defend itself from its adversaries, something was going to have to change.
In 1938, the government introduced a series of decrees that would describe how the Soviets would enforce this new concept of labor discipline. Workers that were late by more than 20 minutes were to be fired immediately, and evicted from their housing. By 1940, a new decree made failure to show up for work, and voluntary quitting a criminal offense (Seigelbaum), most likely resulting in years of forced labor in a gulag.
In conclusion, labor discipline was an overall success. By the start of the Second World War, the Soviet defense industry was producing 230 tanks, 700 aircraft, and well over 100,000 rifles a month (Freeze, 372). Now, instead of being utterly inefficient, the Soviets were producing weapons at an unparalleled rate. I think its fair to say labor discipline directly benefit the success of the Soviets in defeating the Germans.