ArmInfo. The primary task for resolving the issue with the strike of the employees of the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ACMC) is the creation of a tripartite commission, which will include representatives of the government, the company's management and the trade union. On July 12 at a press conference chairman of Branch Union of Trade Union Organizations of Miners, Metallurgists and Jewellers of Republic of Armenia Eduard Pahlevanyan expressed this opinion.
"Since July 2, the spontaneous action of employees of the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine has led to the suspension of the plant as a whole. The strikers are in favor of protecting their rights in terms of paying wages for especially dangerous or especially harmful conditions. Employees believe that wages were paid improperly or not paid at all, "he recalled. According to the head of the Union, a trilateral approach in finding a consensus, perhaps at this stage will give an active solution to this problem, but not a final one. "We believe that this will be a constructive step, but it is not exhaustive," he stressed.
Answering the question of ArmInfo, Pahlevanyan noted that the employer had offered his own solution to the problem with the condition that the workers take up their job duties. Until next Wednesday, he said, labor personnel should announce their decision whether they agree with the proposed conditions of employers. "I'm sure that if there are government representatives on the commission, the issue will be resolved efficiently. In particular, their participation inspires some confidence for the workers that their concerns will be really studied and considered," he said, adding that the commission would immediately start to work, when will receive the consent of employees of the plant on the conditions voiced by employers. At the same time, Pahlevanyan did not want to assess what would happen if the workers did not give their consent to the conditions proposed by the tripartite commission.
Pakhlevanyan described the current problem as extremely serious, both for the industry and for the residents of Agarak and the republic as a whole. "When all the staff members stood up, this suggests that there is a need for a serious approach to addressing the issue, since stopping any large enterprise in the mining industry is, to put it mildly, an undesirable step in terms of the development of the republic," he said, noting, referring on the words of employers that one day of plant downtime in total causes damage in the amount of $ 100 thousand.
The copper-molybdenum plant itself, according to the head of the Union, is a city-forming one, since the majority of the able-bodied population of Agarak works at this enterprise. "Therefore, the launch of the enterprise is extremely important," he concluded.
To recall, on July 10 GeoProMining Company applied to the Armenian government to create a multilateral commission from the competent authorities to resolve the situation at the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine. The statement noted, that the work of the plant was suspended from July 3 this year due to the non-hiring of employees of the technological transport department, which resulted in the paralysis of production. The fact is that the employees of the plant that violated the labor contracts presented unreasonable demands for the payment of additional funds not provided for by bilateral contracts. Due to the halt of production of the plant, the local community and state budgets of Armenia incur significant material losses. The leadership of the Agarak plant also calls on the MPs of the Armenian parliament to refrain from emotional and baseless accusations against the company and reports that the plant fulfills all obligations to the staff, local budget and state budget of Armenia in full and with its obligations and legislation of the Republic of Armenia. In particular, the plant fulfills its obligations in terms of wages, overtime payments and additional cash rewards. The plant never had wage arrears and always fulfilled its obligations stipulated by the employment contract and the RA legislation. GeoProMining, being one of the largest investors in the Armenian economy, calls on state bodies to form a multilateral commission from the competent government bodies in order to objectively study the current situation and find ways to resolve it.
To note, the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ACMC )is included in the asset portfolio of the GeoProMining diversified international group of mining companies. The plant is located in the south of Armenia, on the border with Iran, and is the largest industrial facility in the Meghri region. Since 2007, the Company has invested $ 79 million in investments in the development of ACMC. Currently 1040 people work at the Agarak plant. The average salary of workers and engineering staff (excluding management) is 340,000 drams (more than 700 US dollars). From 2008 to 2018, the "Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine" CJSC paid taxes and fees in the amount of $ 121.9 million to the state budget of the Republic of Armenia, including payments for VAT. In 2019, ACMC planned to pay to the RA budget about $ 12 million, including VAT payments. According to the results of activity, the GeoProMining company, according to official data, has invested over $ 505 million in the Armenian economy over a 10-year period.