Karen Hakobyan, who worked at the Nairit chemical factory from 2008-2014 as a chief mechanic, is still owed 12.5 million AMD ($25,500) in back wages and fines from the sprawling Soviet industrial complex that’s no longer operating.
While a Yerevan court has issued a verdict obligating Nairit Factory to pay Hakobyan the money (7.3 million AMD in salary and 5.3 million in fines), the factory and the energy ministry argue that the decision is a basis on which to pay Hakobyan the money he’s owed.
Hakobyan told Hetq that he’s willing to forego the interest owed him but Nairit 2 CJSC, which has assumed the debts of Nairit Factory, has offered him 3.7 million AMD - twice as less than the 7.3 million stipulated by the court.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Iosif Isayan says that the ministry doesn’t have the power to take steps to execute the court’s verdict, arguing that the 12.5 million to be seized from Nairit Factory must be paid according to Armenia’s bankruptcy law.
Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Office has weighed in on the matter, declaring that Karen Hakobyan’s rights have been violated due to the illegitimate actions of the energy ministry and its negligence.
In response, the ministry claims that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to execute the court’s decision and that the matter must be handed over to the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service attached to the Ministry of Justice.
“Why, after winning in the courts and getting a favorable declaration from the Human Rights defender, they are still spinning on their wheels and talking about some other amount. It turns out that Nairit Factory doesn’t recognize the courts or the Human Rights Defender. There’s also the statement of the prime minister to pay all the principal. Nairit turns around and says we will pay this much. Why is the factory disregarding the law?” asks a frustrated Hakobyan.
Hakobyan, now unemployed, has three children going to university. He was given a March 1 deadline to pay their tuition debts or they faced being expelled. The deadline has come and went without any payment made.
Hakobyan charges Nairit with playing games, arguing that the company is on the verge of being dissolved and that he should wait till afterwards.
“It’s a smokescreen. There are still 400 people there getting a salary, but they tell us there’s no money. They fired us and we didn’t get any money. Those who stayed continue to get paid,” says Hakobyan, adding that some of those who stayed drove Nairit to bankruptcy in the first place.