USLGPSEA statement on May 1, 2020

Today, the Mayday, the International Day of Solidarity of Workers, for the first time in 130 years, the world’s trade unions have not organized mass events. Our union also violated the tradition of the last 9 years by not celebrating May 1 on the street.
The situation with the Coronavirus further emphasized the role of public service employees. For many years, the Armenian authorities have ignored the public sphere, systematically depriving it of sufficient funding and support. Governments that changed from one to another have regularly threatened to cut back on government spending at the expense of workers.

As a result of such practices, what we have today has evolved over the years: undervalued public servants, low wages, social tensions, and inequality. State-owned organizations without basic conditions and employees with minimum wages, who run the state on their shoulders on the one hand, and “businessmen” who have accumulated great wealth and received tax privileges, on the other hand, for whom the priority is not statehood but personal interest. The crisis has once again proved that public services cannot be for-profit.

The Armenian government has declared the economic revolution as an important political guideline, but it should be remembered that the mentioned revolution is impossible without the second party involved in it – the employeea. Entrepreneurs and investments cannot create added value, public good or economic potential on their own, without employees. The backbone of this system is the worker, and any achievement can only be achieved thanks to the workers.

These days, in Armenia, as well as all over the world, public service workers are at the forefront. Despite all the difficulties, they ensure the normal functioning of the state services, risking their own safety and health. We thank the public servants and the public sector workers for their work.

We call on the Armenian authorities to refrain from the previously adopted policy of laid-offs, privatization and outsourcing, to ensure the environment of mutual trust, to rely on social dialogue and trilateral talks.

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The English version of this article is partly powered by Google Translate, with additional editing by websmater.