ArmInfo."Our partners in the South Caucasus Railway (SCR) have expressed their readiness to increase the salaries of their employees by 10%," Minister of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia Suren Papikyan said on October 23 during a government hour in parliament.
Earlier it was reported that the drivers of the South Caucasus Railway CJSC organized a strike in Gyumri. Electric trains do not go. Employees demand a salary increase of 30%. It should be noted that this is not the first strike of railway workers. In November 2018, the employees of the Gyumri locomotive depot achieved their allowances.
According to Papikyan, the question of raising the salary was raised by railway workers not only in Gyumri, but also in Alaverdi. As the minister pointed out, the issue is very sensitive and the parties must come to a compromise.
The Minister also said that on November 6 he will meet in Moscow with Oleg Belozerov, General Director and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways. As expected, during the meeting, in particular, the upcoming investments of the company in Armenia will be discussed in the context of the next 4-5 years.
It should be noted that recently in a number of Russian media an information was spread that Russian Railways was allegedly preparing to break the agreement with the Armenian authorities. Earlier, RTVI TV channel, citing a source, said that Russian Railways was preparing to break off the agreement with the Armenian authorities, claiming that they were blocking the work of its subsidiary South Caucasus Railway (SCR), which operates the railways in Armenia.
Later, the press service of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation told TASS that the Russian side is considering all options for developing the situation with the RA Railways, up to the early termination of the Russian Railways contract with the Armenian side.
Relations between Russian Railways and the Armenian authorities escalated due to criminal cases against SCR. In particular, in August 2018, a search was conducted at the SCR office in Armenia on suspicion of tax evasion. Later, the Investigative Committee of Armenia reported on a criminal case against the former deputy minister of transport, who hid the abuses revealed during the SCR inspections. In addition, in 2018, the Investigative Committee began testing the company for 10 years, checking the effectiveness of investments of $ 226.8 million. The management of the South Caucasus Railway considers financial claims unfounded. They emphasize that ''for 10 years of SCR operation, the total time of inspections of tax authorities in the company was 3 years''.
Nevertheless, on October 9, in a conversation with reporters, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan stated that the issue of early termination of the agreement on the management of the Armenian railway by "Russian Railways" is not on the agenda. The representative of the Armenian government completely ruled out any political motive in connection with the investigations carried out in the RA regarding the company. "I exclude that the process is being managed with the aim of resolving a number of issues regarding relations between Yerevan and Moscow," he emphasized. According to him, the current agreement provides for investments until 2038, but there is a mutual desire to specify the investment program. Mher Grigoryan agreed with the statement that the property of Russian Railways in Armenia is mainly the legacy of the Soviet era and there is a need to modernize the rolling stock of CJSC South Caucasus Railways (a 100% subsidiary of Russian Railways) and its infrastructures. South Caucasus Railway CJSC is a 100% subsidiary of Russian Railways OJSC and carries out concession management of Armenian railways in accordance with the agreement signed on February 13, 2008. The concession management period is 30 years with the right to extend for another 10 years.