The rubber and latex producing Nairit Factory employees' mission has turned into an endless struggle to obtain their salaries of 18 months. The Chloroprene production shift manager, 43-year old Ruben noted that they received their salary for June of 2013 only recently, and are currently trying to figure out how to cover their debts with this small sum.
The Nairit Factory CSJC, where the government holds 10 percent shares, has violated their workers' rights multiple times in the last years. According to Ruben, they initially paid every 40 days, then every 45 days, and when they did, they paid only one month’s salary, and that’s how the debt slowly accrued. Then the 1,200 idle workers and 1,000 workers would receive their salaries only after organizing a protest in front of the government building or presidential palace.
The shift manager who works at the highly toxic factory told us that they increased the employees salaries by 50% in 2009 after an accident at the production unit, the initial salary they received was about 120,000 AMD ($270+/-), now it is 175,000 AMD ($390+/-).
Other production units were promised a salary increase but it never happened and the salaries are still low. At the factory, employees receive 80 – 100,000 AMD ($180 – $230), while shift managers receive 10% more.
Before the situation with the idle workers the factory worked in 2 shifts of 10 and 14 hours, certain production units had 12 hour shifts. To the question whether it is possible to work for 14 continuous hours in a toxic environment, Ruben responded positively, “Believe it, it was possible and we’ve done it. It is difficult sometimes when you don’t have time to wipe your nose, but we’ve done it.” They work a total of 14 days in a month, about 144 hours, which is in the limist of what the labor code permits. The long shifts allow for people to come to the factory less often. That is important for the staff because they pay less for transport costs.
Another employee, Hayk, who has been working for more than 30 years at the factory, agreed to the benefits of the shifts. He stated from his experience that the factory, in contrast to when it was under Soviet control, does not provide a bus for workers, despite the fact, that public transport near the factory does not work at late hours, and coming to work or going home before or after night shifts is a real issue.
According to Ruben, he has never heard employees raise the issue of short shifts or demand transportation, it has never bothered anyone.
Currently, since the factory is not producing, the shift is 24 hours because there is not the same work intensity, said Ruben. Today, the most important issue for Nairit employees is to receive their 18 month salaries, while the President and government are not promising much to the workers.