On December 23, at the Yerevan city Council meeting, during the speech exchange section, Anahit Asatryan, the Yerevan City Councilor and the President of the USLGPSEA spoke about so-called “13th salary” for Yerevan Municipality employees.
Honorable Mr. Mayor!
As the president of one of the largest national trade unions in Armenia, which unites thousands of members, including the employees of the city administration , I can not but address the issue of the so-called “13th salary”. According to the Labor Act of Armenia, the trade union is the workers’ representative, so I, as an elected president, represent the interests of the workers here, whether we like it or not. For many years, practically always, the employees of the city have been receiving one additional salary at the end of the year, which is called “13th salary” by the tradition coming from Soviet era. Regardless of the amount of this salary, it was still part of the regular pay, as it was always been paid to through decades. After the start of the War, Mr. Mayor, you decided not to pay bonuses to the workers, justly considering that it would not be morally fair. And by the same logic, as you have already stated, you also decided not to pay the so-called “13th salary”.
I point your attention to the fact that Article 105, Clause 3 of the Labor Act stipulates that the employer may change the amount of remuneration and (or) determine the amount of remuneration without the written consent of the employee only if the terms of remuneration change according to the law or the collective agreement. However, there is no collective agreement between the mayor and city administration workers’ union, since there is no such culture formed yet, and the employees have not give any consent regarding the discussed matter. I think that not only is it not fair to deprive the employees of the 13th salary, which was paid for years and became sort of a was part of the actual salary, but it is also a violation of the law.
Let me remind you,
that in 2020 the employees
• worked during Martial Law and State of Emergency in difficult, unhealthy conditions, in some cases overloaded with extra responsibilities and overtime
• were the primary pillar that was in direct contact with citizens, solving their problems
• during the war, they worked sometimes without weekends to provide assistance to the internally-displaced population of unrecognized Republic Artsakh, and to perform other functions
that the vast majority of employees
• got infected with COVID-19 and had to take care about themselves by themselves, and bear the burden of illness of the their family members, and in many cases they spent more than their salary for treatments and medications
• made personal contributions to the protection of the borders of the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh, by donating money from salaries to the “Hayastan All-Armenian Fund”, the “Yerevan Voluntaries Brigade” NGO and other initiatives
• Provided psychological and material support to relatives and friends who were on the front lines
At the same time:
Both crises led to the deterioration of the economic situation, the devaluation of the currency, and consequently the rise in prices for basic consumer products, which caused additional social problems.
It has already been mentioned that there has been no wage increase for the last8 years, and during those years where had a significant inflation, which swallowed almost 20% of the salary, and also during those years a new burdens were added on the employees in the form of payroll contributions to the Pension Funds.
We must emphasize the role of workers in ensuring the normal functioning of the state in times of crisis, the need to stimulate the motivation of workers and relieve the social tensions to some extent.
Mr. Mayor, I have great respect for your decision regarding bonus payments. But please re-consider it and in the 2020 pay the employees an additional salary in December (bonus / add-on/ 13th salary).
Dear colleagues of the City Council, I also appeal to you, and propose to take immediate steps to increase the salaries of the employees of city starting from 2021.
In response to her speech, the mayor of Yerevan Hayk Marutyan said that he is concerned about the employees more than the employee’s representative, but along with this concern, he is not going to pay the employees the 13th salary.
DISCLAIMER: To shorten the labor time, the English version of the this article has been prepared by partly using the assistance of the Google Translate service’s machine translation, and afterwards it was edited and corrected by an USLGPSEA employee.