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Nairit Employees Do Not Trust Government; Will Continue to Fight for Their Rights: Former Spokesperson

The Armenian Government has promised to pay the overdue wages of the employees of "Nairit" chemical plant by the end of 2015; however, the workers, who stage demonstrations twice a week, do not agree with this condition, Anush Harutyunyan, former spokesperson of "Nairit" stated in an interview with Epress.am. 

“If the government were trustworthy, we would have terminated our protests, went home, and waited for our salaries. But let's not forget that they had also promised to pay the back wages by the end of 2014. In only 20 days, however, they said they were not going to pay us anything,” Harutyunyan said. 

480 people, she said, continue to work at the factory; however, these workers only get paid once every two months. According to Harutyunyan, these people have started protesting recently, and the management of the factory has promised to pay the wages in the coming days: “In other words, their debt is only increasing. They have made such a mess out of this, a Gordian knot that can't be untied, and has to be cut with a single blow.”

Although the fight for their unpaid salaries has been top priority for Nairit employees, the re-operation of the plant is also of great importance to them. There have been people who have said during the protests that their only demand was to get paid, however, as Harutyunyan stated, everyone is in favor of the re-operation. 

“There is just one little nuance here; many of the protesters think that if we prioritized the issue of the re-operation, the payment of the wages would be pushed into the background, and they'd give the money only after the reanimation of the plant. But that's wrong. If we were to put the question this way, I for one would demand my salary to be paid first. But if we, as citizens, are concerned about our country just a little bit, then “Nairit” has to be reanimated; it's the basis of our economy,” Harutyunyan said. 

If the plant is not re-operated, and the company is dissolved, the spokesperson stressed, they could only be paid the wages of no more than 6 months, while the employees are owed salaries for up to 24 months. 

According to Harutyunyan, she knows that the current management of the plant wants to sell the property, the pipeline, production lines of "Nairit". The workers, however, are going to continue their fight, and if they are not given a clear answer, the protests "will not be limited to gatherings on Tuesdays and Thursdays." The protesters hope they will be received by the country's Prime Minister, and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and in the course of these meetings they will be provided with a debt repayment schedule. 

Details in the video [Armenian only]