Decree on Workers' Control

Written: November 14/27, 1917
First Published: Sobranie Uzakonenii i Rasporiazhenii Rabochego i Krestianskogo Pravitelstva, 1917, No. 3, pp. 39-40. The decree was first published on November 16/29, 1917.
Source: James Bunyan and H.H. Fisher, The Bolshevik revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and materials, Stanford University Press; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1934, p. 308-310.
Translated: Emanuel Aronsberg
Transcription/Markup: Zdravko Saveski
Online Version: 2017

1. In the interests of a systematic regulation of national economy, Workers' Control is introduced in all industrial, commercial, agricultural [and similar] enterprises which are hiring people to work for them in their shops or which are giving them work to take home. This control is to extend over the production, storing, buying and selling of raw materials and finished products as well as over the finances of the enterprise.

2. The workers will exercise this control through their elected organizations, such as factory and shop committees, Soviets of elders, etc. The office employees and the technical personnel are also to have representation in these committees.

3. Every large city, gubernia, and industrial area is to have its own Soviet of Workers' Control, which, being an organ of the S[oviet] of W[orkers'], S[oldiers'], and P[easants'] D[eputies], must be composed of representatives of trade-union, factory, shop and other workers' committees and workers' co-operatives.

4. Until the meeting of the Congress of the Soviets of Workers' Control an All-Russian Soviet of Workers' Control will be organized in Petrograd, made up of representatives from the following organizations: All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies (5 [representatives]); All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviet of Peasant Deputies (5); All-Russian Council of Trade Unions (5); All-Russian Union of Workers' Co-operatives (2); All-Russian Bureau of Factory and Shop Committees (5); All-Russian Union of Engineers and Technicians (5); All-Russian Union of Agronomists (2); from every All-Russian union of workers having less than 100,000 members (1); from those that have more than 100,000 members (2); the Petrograd Council of Trade Unions (2).

5. Commissions of trained inspectors (technicians, accountants, etc.) will be established in connection with the higher organs of Workers' Control and will be sent out either on the initiative of these higher organs or at the request of the lower organs of Workers' Control to investigate the financial and technical side of enterprises.

6. The organs of Workers' Control have the right to supervise production, fix the minimum of output, and determine the cost of production.

7. The organs of Workers' Control have the right to control all the business correspondence of an enterprise. Owners of enterprises are legally responsible for all correspondence kept secret. Commercial secrets are abolished. The owners have to show to the organs of Workers' Control all their books and statements for the current year and for past years.

8. The rulings of the organs of Workers' Control are binding on the owners of enterprises and can be annulled only by decisions of the higher organs of Workers' Control.

9. Appeals from the lower to the higher organs must be made within three days.

10. In all enterprises the owners and the representatives of the workers and employees elected to the Committee on Workers' Control are responsible to the state for the order, discipline, and safety of the property. Persons guilty of hiding raw materials or products, of falsifying accounts, and of other similar abuses are criminally liable.

11. All regional Soviets of Workers' Control (Article 3) have the power to settle disputed points and conflicts that may arise between the lower organs of Workers' Control and to give their decision regarding the complaints of the owners. They also issue instructions (within the limits fixed by the All-Russian Soviet of Workers' Control) to meet the local conditions of production and supervise the activities of the lower organs of control.

12. The All-Russian Soviet of Workers' Control makes out a general plan for Workers' Control, issues instructions, makes binding decisions, regulates mutual relations between the different Soviets of Workers' Control, and serves as the highest authority for all business connected with Workers' Control.

13. The All-Russian Soviet of Workers' Control co-ordinates the activities of the organs of Workers' Control in their dealings with other institutions of national economy.

Special instructions will be issued later defining the relations between the All-Russian Soviet of Workers' Control and other institutions of national economy.[1]

14. All the laws and circulars restricting the work of factory, shop, and other committees or Soviets of workers and employees are hereby annulled.


President of the Soviet of People's Commissars


People's Commissar of Land


[1] A French translation of general instruction on workers' control, published in Izvestiia, No. 250, December 20, 1917, is in Labry, Une legislation communiste. Recueil des lois, decrets, arretes principaux du gouvernement bolcheviste, Paris, 1920, pp. 131-36.