By Atom Markarian
The chief executive of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power station refuted on Wednesday a newspaper report about his employees’ threats to go on strike over continuing wage arrears.
The newspaper “Haykakan Zhamanak” claimed that “several hundred” Metsamor staff gathered on Tuesday inside the plant, threatening to stop their work if they do not get their back wages in the coming days.
But the plant’s director, Gagik Markosian, dismissed the report as “absolutely false” and ruled out the possibility of a strike at the strategically important nuclear facility. Markosian told RFE/RL that he only had a “long conversation” with a dozen disgruntled workers who complained about the wage arrears.
He said the Metsamor personnel are currently receiving their June salaries and will soon be paid for the other summer months.
The plant’s employees already threatened their administration with a strike last year after not being paid for several months. The Armenian Ministry of Energy cleared most of the arrears afterwards.
The plant’s financial difficulties are the result of some $100 million owed to it by the Hayenergo central power grid.
Markosian also said that the temporary stoppage of Metsamor’s only functioning reactor, scheduled for Friday, may again be postponed “by several days.” The reactor is due to be brought to halt for regular maintenance and refueling and reactivated in 45 days.