Unpaid Workers Protest Chemical Plant in Vanadzor
VANADZOR, Armenia—On June 27, over 100 former employees of a chemical plant in Vanadzor, Armenia’s third largest city, blocked its main entrance to demand several months’ worth of back pay, reported RFE/RL Armenian service.
The Vanadzor-Khimprom enterprise never recovered from the 2008-2009 global economic crisis and the resulting collapse of international prices of calcium carbide, its main product. Following this crisis, the enterprise sent most of its 830 work force into an indefinite leave in late 2008.
For a brief period, a thermal power plant, known to be part of the former chemical enterprise, employed close to 150 of these workers until 2012. However, the workers still have not been paid by the company, despite periodical protests staged in Vanadzor.
The employees are owed a total of 130 million drams ($270,000) despite repeated promises by the Vanadzor-Khimprom management and the Armenian government to eliminate the wage debts.
Prior to the blockade of its main entrance, the employees had blocked the entrance to Vanadzor-Khimprom’s energy sector for 12 days. They only allowed for one truck to leave the facility during the blockade of the main entrance and said that they will organize a nonstop vigil around the area until they are paid.
The company’s chief executive, Aleksandr Snegiryov, threatened to appeal to the police if the situation continued. He refused to answer any additional questions to RFE/RL’s Armenian service. The situation whether the company will be paying back the wages of the employees still remains unclear.
The plant, which had existed since Soviet times, also has large debts to other business entities as well.
Source: Armenian Weekly
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