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Journalist Offered a Gift for Dropping the Report on Unpaid Salaries 

Epress.am has been alerted for the second time in the recent months that the staff of “Sky Group” cleaning firm outsourced for “HayPost” postal service are not paid their salaries for March and April, despite the fact that they continued cleaning “HayPost” offices working as essential workers during the lockdown․ Epress.am contacted the company whose representative made ambiguous offers to our journalist formulating it as an “order to the editorial.”

“Dear media, we draw your attention to our issue. You will be told that our salaries are duly paid, but that is a lie,” plea workers in a letter to media outlets for the second time, expressing their willingness to write to Prime Minister Pashinyan that no state agency is currently in charge to influence the business violating their labor rights.

Epress.am called “Sky Group” for the second time. The first time was in early April when we were again assured that the workers are lying and that the company had made salary payments. The woman who eventually responded to our calls after repeated attempts said that the company will convene a press conference next week and will present that this is a campaign against the company organized by its competitors. “I told you last time, I’m telling you again, don’t pay attention, this is an absurd. This is done by competitors to press our company out.”

The person in charge refused to name who exactly were these competitors and how they were pressing them out. “We paid them on April 9-10, and now we will pay them until May 15, we have some time.”

The representative of “Sky Group” made repeated remarks of meeting me as a journalist and telling me “everything in advance” before the potential press conference. We finished the first conversation without receiving clear answers on why the workers would be interested in making such alerts and who was exactly impeding their business. Shortly afterwards, we got a call, the same person asking us how much it costs to invite us to a press conference. Epress.am explained that media are not paid to attend press conferences, they are only notified. “Sky Group” representative also asked, what they can do so that the article that salaries are not paid is not published, mistakenly assuming that last time we did not write about it.  “Check with your editor, what will it take me that you don’t publish the article? I’m ordering an editorial.” [sic] “Sky Group” representative did not make it clear what “ordering an editorial” meant, but said that they don’t want the article to be published until they would visit our office and bring a computer where they would show all the payments and also would bring a small gift.

The main question lingered in the telephone conversation, “What should we do for you to drop the reporting?”