by Tatevik Shahunyan
"I'm Against" movement will hold a protest action near the building of the Armenian Finance Ministry on March 7.
The protest action will start at 12:30 pm. "We will gather near the Finance Ministry building to express our protest and disagreement with the illegal actions of that structure. The Finance Ministry's pressure on the employers to transfer compulsory pension contributions to a special account is unacceptable. Thus, the Finance Ministry forces the employers to transfer the pension contributions. We, the citizens of Armenia, must not allow this", the initiative says in a statement.
To recall, the voluntary accumulative pension system was introduced in Armenia on Jan 1 2011. The system has become compulsory starting Jan 1 2014. According to the law, the minimal pension in the country will be equal to the minimum wage, while the basic pension will total 150% of the minimum wage. The compulsory accumulative pension system will apply to the citizens born after Jan 1 1974 (the citizens below 40). Starting Jan 1 2014, 5% of their salaries will be transferred to their personal accumulative accounts. The government will transfer a similar amount (but no more than 25,000 drams).
The new law sparked public outrage throughout the country. People are displeased not only with the mandatory component of the system but also with the absurd situation following the Constitutional Court's decision of January 24 that suspended some provisions of the Law on the Accumulative Pension until the Court considers its constitutionality on Mar 28 2014. The Court suspended Article 76 stipulating responsibility for refusing to make compulsory pension contributions or failing to do in time and Paragraph 3 of Article 86 saying that the employees covered by the system should choose a pension fund. Nevertheless, the Finance Ministry of Armenia urges employers to calculate and make accumulative pension payments and employees to choose a pension fund and a manager for it.