YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Employees of Armenia’s official news agency Armenpress went on a one-day strike on Monday to protest the government’s continuing failure to pay their salaries. A notice sent to subscribers the previous day explained that Armenpress will stop wiring news dispatches in an attempt to induce the authorities to respect their budgetary obligations.
The agency staff have not been paid since March. Of 36 million drams ($70,000) earmarked for the country’s sole state-owned wire service by the government’s budget for this year only 8 million has been made available so far. The agency is also owed large sums of money from many local publications. According to Norayr Poghosian–an Armenpress reporter–the problem of wage arrears has acquired a "chronic" nature in recent years.
The government department of information and book publishing–which supervises Armenpress’s activities–moved promptly to soothe the strikers–promising a partial payment of the back wages. The head of the department–Eduard Militonian–told their representatives that the money will be paid on Tuesday.