Only three months ago, the tripartite National Collective Agreement of social partnership was signed between the Government, the Republican Employers’ Association and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia. The clause in the Agreement states, that:
“The parties agree that the draft of bills and other legislative acts in regard of labor law և rights, important for employers and employees, with exception of the drafts requiring urgent decision-making, shall be submitted to the opinion of the Republican Tripartite Commission, before the draft will be made into a law. “
Nevertheless, without any discussions with the social partners, violating the Agreement signed by them, the Cabinet of Ministers, on December 22, hastily issued a decision to approve draft amendments to the “Act on Compensation for Damages Caused to the Life or Health of Soldiers during the Homeland Defense”. The only few days later the Parliament passed the Amendments to the Act. (Remarks: according to original Act, from all employees in Armenia a mandatory fixed-amount payroll deductions (~2$) was made – which then go into independent insurance trust fund. Because these money do not end up at state’s hand, but independent fund, it is not a tax, and instead is called “sticker fee”. The fund is used to assign welfare payments and compensations to servicemen with distorted health, or to their families, if soldier is killed).
The new amendments added a new financial burden on employees. It is not enough that for years there has been no increase in salaries, especially for public sector and local government employees, now, according to the law, employees with incomes from 100 to 200 thousand drams have to pay 3000 drams, and those with incomes from 200 to 500 thousand drams will have to pay 5500 drams “sticker fee”. This is in fact, a regressive form of payroll deduction. It is not clear by what logic the person receiving a salary of 1 million dram is forced to pay only 0.85% of the salary, but the person receiving a salary of 200 000 drams will pay the 2․75%. This targets those with lower incomes.
Undoubtedly, the Servicemen’s Insurance Trust Fund must operate smoothly, and no injured soldier or his family member must be left without compensation, but it is the state that must insure its soldiers. As always, instead of running state infrastrucutures, such as social security and welfare, the state-level problems are solved through the pocket of the individual, in form of crowdfunding. The workers are not to blame for powers provoking wars without ensuring the protection and safety of the soldiers, and creation of appropriate systems and infrastructures. We are sure that many employees will have their voluntary contribution in this important welfare scheme, but to oblige it by law is inadmissible, and also, we believe, unconstitutional.
Especially during the crisis, democracy and the easing of the social burden of the society are very important, while the authorities ignore both, and do pass law with disregarding of social dialogue.
Therefore, we will fight against this law.
To shorten the labour time, the article above is partly written using AI tools, such as AI translation, with additional edit.