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Police detains three picketers

  • by David Stepanyan

  • Friday, March 7, 14:59

 Police have detained three participants in the ongoing action of protest in front of the Finance Ministry. People are protesting against introduction of the mandatory accumulative pension system in Armenia. The action is organized by I'm Against public interest group.

ArmInfo's correspondent on the spot reports that the activists have been taken to the Center District Police Office. In response, the picketers demanded the police to set them free. Otherwise, they threaten to rescue their friends on their own. As of 2:00pm the police opened Nalbandian Street that was blocked by picketers earlier today.

Earlier, on Thursday, Civilnet reported referring to a source at the Finance Ministry of Armenia that the Ministry is drafting amendments to the given law to bring it in line with the Constitution.  Particularly, the amendments will turn the mandatory charges from the monthly salaries into a tax.

To recall, the voluntary accumulative pension system was introduced in Armenia on Jan 1 2011. The system became compulsory starting Jan 1 2014. According to the bill, 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).  People are discontented not only at the mandatory component of the system but also at 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.  The picketers call the given approach a robbery. 

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