Branch Republican Union of Trade Union Organisations Workers of Education and Science of Armenia: many successes achieved over the past year but issues about teachers’ salaries and job cuts remain to be resolved


Branch Republican Union of Trade Union Organisations Workers of Education and Science of Armenia is the largest trade union within the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia: it represents 1780 trade unions and 62,000 trade union members.

In the course of the last year, Republican Union repeatedly appealed to the government with various questions and propositions regarding the rights and social benefits of teachers. Some of the propositions had a positive outcome on the part of the government. For example, the issue of the extended annual leave for teachers and employees of the preschool educational institutions was resolved and the timing restrictions on the partial retirement of teachers were lifted. At the proposal of the union, the government included teachers in the social package, which means that starting from this year 37000 teacher can have a free access to the medical services.

Despite some progress, workers of the education sector still have a number of unresolved problems. At the moment, Branch Union considers as its main goal the increase of teachers’ salaries to least an average level of salaries in the Republic. An average teacher’s salary in Armenia is around 230 EUR while an average wage in the Republic – around 330 EUR. The Union appealed to the Armenian government with a request to raise teachers’ salaries and on 1 July 2015 the Government decided to raise teachers’ salaries by 10% (since the last year). However, according to Grigor Gharibyan, the President of the Republic Union, “this is not a solution to the problem, as there is a high inflation in the country and the prices for essential goods keep rising”.

The employment of graduates in teaching disciplines also suffers from the lack of funding: every year, around 5000 students graduate in Armenia with education degrees but due to the high level of unemployment in the country only a small percentage of the graduates succeed to find the job in their field. Despite the fact that the Armenian government designed and adopted a new political programme on youth employment, the economic conditions in the country do not allow to fully implement that programme. The education sector being the most low-paid sector in the country is another reason why graduates in teaching disciplines are not able to work in their field. In the framework of social partnership, Branch Union constantly negotiates with the Ministry of Education and Science regarding the increase of teachers’ salaries and financial support of young teachers.

Republican Union also actively fight with the job cuts in the education sector to bring the number of laid-off teachers to the minimum. As a result of the constant dialogue with the Ministry of Education and Science, the massive layoffs are avoided. However, as the number of school students in the Republic continue to decrease, this problem remains open and unresolved.

One of the greatest recent achievements of the Union is the signing of the Collective Agreement between the Union and the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia in October 2015, after a long process of negotiations. The Agreement is of great importance for the primary trade union organisations and regional unions.