ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS GOLD MARKET OWNED BY "VAGHARSH & SONS" LTD

Noyan Tapan
http://www.nt.am?shownews=1011550
Jan 26, 2009

YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, NOYAN TAPAN. Armenian prime minister Tigran
Sargsyan accompanied by by the ministers of economy, finace, labor
and social issues, the chairman of the RA State Revenue Committee
and a number of other state officials on January 24 visited the gold
market owned by "Vagharsh & Sons" Ltd on Yerevan's Khorenatsi Street
to become acquained with the market employees' working conditions
and difficulties which these people had repeatedly expressed during
their protests organized in front of the government building.

During talks held with numerous employees of the market, it became
clear that even elementary conditions are not ensured for employees
who have a lot of problems related to hygiene and sanitary, health
safety and fire protection which is a gross violation of the law. There
is also a problem of cash registers: they are absent in many trade
stalls. Employees also complained about the large amount of monthly
payment for their work in the market. The minimum montly paymnent
for a stall makes 70 thousand drams, including 18 thousand drams
- allgedly a state tax, 5 thousand drams to the Pension Fund, the
rest are payments to the market organizers for the lease of a stall,
accounting and other services.

In repsonse to market employees' questions, it was explained that the
latest legislative amendments related to fairs are aimed at reducing
the tax burden of employees and shifting it to the organizers of
markets and fairs. The organizer of a market is obliged to purchase
cash registers and install them at a stall at his own expense, as
well as to ensure working conditions envisaged by law.

According to the RA Government Information and PR Department, the
prime minister conducted a consultation to sum up the results of the
indicated visit and propose solutions to these problems. The chairman
of the State Revenue Committee was instructed to prepare an analysis
of the financial results of the activities of the gold market owned by
"Vagharsh & Sons" Ltd, its rents and tax liabilities and to present
this information to the prime minister as soon as possible.

The Labor Inspection of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Issues was
instructed to conduct checks in the gold market to reveal violaltions
of working conditions and take respective measures. The Ministry of
Emergency Situations will examine the state of meeting technical and
fire prevention demands and take the necessary measures.

As a result of all this, as the prime minister underlined, favorable
conditions should be created for all employees of markets and fairs
in terms of improving their financial-economic and working conditions.