ArmInfo."I am deeply convinced that the issue of the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine in the trilateral format will be resolved, and this will be an example for the entire mining industry in Armenia," Eduard Pahlevanyan, chairman of Branch Union of Trade Union Organizations of Miners, Metallurgists & Jewellers of the Republic of Armenia, told ArmInfo in an interview.
To recall, according to the official report of GeoProMining, the work of the plant was suspended from July 3 of this year when the employees of the technological transport department refused to attend work, which caused the suspension of production. The transport department employees of the combine made demands for the payment of additional funds not provided for by bilateral agreements.
According to Pakhlevanyan, the tripartite commission was set up to settle the dispute, which included representatives of the government, the company's management and the trade union, and at the first meeting, held on July 17, out of the 38 issues submitted, 16 were already considered. According to Pahlevanyan, the commission is given a month to resolve the current situation, however, the time limit can be extended in case there are issues requiring a longer time to study and resolve.
The combine, as the expert noted, is already working in full, without any failures, the employees are fulfilling their labor obligations, and in the meantime the administration is carefully studying and solving the tasks outlined. "In any case, the fact that this problem will be solved in a trilateral format is definitely a positive beginning," he concluded. To recall, on July 10, GeoProMining appealed to the Armenian government to establish a multilateral commission from the competent authorities to resolve the situation at the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine. Because of suspension of the plant operation, the local community and state budgets of Armenia began to incur significant losses. The leadership of the Agarak Plant also called on the lawmakers of the Armenian Parliament to refrain from emotional and baseless accusations against the company and said that the plant fulfills all obligations to the staff, local budget and state budget of Armenia in full and accordingly 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. It should be noted that the Agarak Copper-Molybdenum Combine is included in the "Armenian" portfolio of assets of the diversified international group of mining companies GeoProMining. 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 the development of the Agarak Combine. 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 VAT. In 2019, the Combine planned to pay to the RA budget about $ 12 million, including VAT payments. According to the results of activity, according to official data, GeoProMining group of companies has invested more than $ 505 million in the Armenian economy over the 10 year period.