Kapan Truck Drivers Out of Work; Competition by Companies Linked to Government Officials is the Culprit
Nine employees of the Kapan Freight and Passenger Auto Transport (KFPAT) CJSC, who transport mineral ore from Kajaran to Yerevan, report that they’ve been jobless since yesterday and point an accusatory finger at AB Trans, a freight company owned by Gagik Vanetsyan, father of newly appointed National Security Service (NSS) head Artur Vanetsyan.
KFPAT transports ore to Yerevan for the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC). The company also ferries ZCMC workers to and from the mine by bus.
While the buses supplied by KFPAT are still operating, the trucks are idle.
The Kapan drivers say that AB Trans, founded in October 2014, started delivering ore from Kajaran to Yerevan 3-4 years ago and that ever since, their loads have decreased from 30 to 19 tons per delivery.
This has hit the drivers hard, since they are paid per load weight.
The nine drivers had been making 7-8 runs to Yerevan and back per month. They say the number of monthly runs started dropping in January of this year.
The KFPAT drivers have years of work experience but are too young to retire. They’re the only breadwinners in their families and eight of the nine have millions in outstanding loans.
They say their demand is a simple one. If 700-800 tons of ore are transported daily to Yerevan, they should at least get an order for 40 tons (2 trucks).
The drivers add that not only will they and their families suffer, but KFPAT employees who service the trucks, and their dependents, will also suffer due to the work shortage.
The company has an average of 85 employees, each with three dependents, so we’re talking about 250 people who will be impacted.
The drivers say that ZCMC has refused to hire them.
They say that there are two other companies in addition to AB Trans that are transporting ore to Yerevan. They claim these companies are linked to two influential officials, one past and one present, in Armenia and Artsakh.
The drivers say they’ve written to former Syunik Provincial Governor Vahe Hakobyan twice, requesting a meeting, but were turned down.
The drivers rhetorically ask – Why should he care about us workers? All he cared about was mouthing slogans that he stood with the people of Syunik.
The drivers threaten to block the Meghri-Yerevan Highway, blocking the transport of ore from Kajaran, if the issue isn’t resolved.