One early move under the new Soviet leadership's ''economic discipline'' campaign is likely to be the docking of work benefits for chronic offenders. The engine will be the official trade union apparatus, a prominent union official suggests.
He said the Kremlin had decided against emphasizing ''scare'' moves like police spot-checks for truant workers carried out in Moscow early this year. He rejected the idea of large-scale firings of lax workers - though party officials say privately a more gradual retirement or reassignment of personnel is in the cards.
The union official said the Kremlin had passed word that the first stage in ensuring discipline on farm and factory floor should be peer pressure on undisciplined workers, through existing levers. Among these, he said, were the docking of pay, downgrading of priority in receiving new apartments, and nixing of bonuses or other benefits.