There is workers’ day, but no work
May 1st is a public holiday in Armenia and is marked as International Labor and Workers’ Day, though without any particular celebrations. Only the Communist party members annually come out for a parade, holding red flags and wearing ties, thus serving as a reminder that 1 May was first marked in 1890.
Yet, this holiday has become an occasion to once again remind people of the problems in the employment field and raise the issue of the protection of workers’ rights. Experts note that there are actually many such problems in Armenia, be it non-payment of salaries during the holidays, delays in salary payments, incomplete payments or unjustified dismissals.
The authorities are also well-aware of these problems. Tadevos Avetisyan, the Armenian Health Minister’s senior advisor on labor and employment issues, listed all the aforesaid to journalists, noting that the most dangerous of them was illegal work, since an unregistered employee can’t protect his/her rights if they are violated.
The majority of human rights activists, in turn, believe that unemployment is the greatest problem facing the country. According to data provided by the Armenian National Statistics Service, there were 243,700 unemployed people, of which 120,400 were males and 123,300 females in 2015.
On a side note, the Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, also congratulated the country’s population on the occasion of Labor Day. He wished everyone ‘fruitful performance’ and stressed that ‘earning an honest living’ was ‘a timeless value.’