Yerevan, 24.10.2017

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From the History  of  the  Trade  Unions  of  Armenia

 

   Trade  unions  began to  develop  into organizations in the world in the age of capitalism with the purpose of improving  of working and living conditions of workers. The first trade unions  were formed  in England, France, the USA. In the middle  of  the 17-th  century  trade unions were formed in Germany, Spain, Belguim and other countries. The trade unions had been formed much earlier than the parties of the working class were formed and  on this reason their development was being carried out  mainly in  the reformism  orientation. In Russia the trade unions were formed in the age of the revolution  in 1905-1907.

   In Armenia the first trade unions were formed in 1905-1907 in Yerevan, Alexandropol, Kars, Alaverdi. In 1905 the trade union of  home-workers was formed in Yerevan. In 1906 the trade unions of  the tanner-workers (Yerevan), the  rail-way workers (Alexandropol, Kars), the  miners (Alaverdi), the typists, the  bakers, the  post-office workers (Yerevan) were  formed.

   In Armenia the trade unions began to be spread on a mass scale in 1921. On 6 February 1921 in Yerevan  at the first Conference  the Council of  trade unions of Armenia was formed and  G.Azatyan was elected the first secretary, G.Anesoglyan was elected secretary. In the summer 1921 provincial trade union bureaus were formed in Alexandropol, Bayazet, Dilizhan, Karaklis, Yerevan. In 1921 16 000  industrial   and  office  workers  affiliated in the trade unions.

   The 1-st Congress of the trade unions of Armenia  took place on  22 August 1921, 206 delegates took part in its work.  The mobilization of the workers on the implementation of  the plans of national economy by means of  spreading of the socialist competition, regulation of the  issues of the protection of the interests of workers, their social insurance, health and pension provision   were recognized as the main tasks of the trade unions.

   At the end of 1922  the trade unions of education, communication, tanner-workers, metal- workers, municipal workers, construction workers, food industry workers, rail-way workers, type-setters, sewing workers, typists and health workers were finally formed in the republic.

   In 1924  the republican trade unions aimed their force  on the rehabilitation of the main branches of the heavy industry.

   In 1939  plenary sessions of some branch  trade unions of Armenia took place where the questions of the  developing of the country defense and trade union activity in this direction were discussed.

   The  activity of the trade unions of Armenia during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) was  considerable. On  29  June 1941 the Central Committee of All-Union Communist Workers Party and the Council of  People’s Commissars of the USSR   appealed  to the party, soviet, trade union and komsomol organizations with the directives letter with  the demand of the reorganization of  the  work in accordance with  the  war-time. In the leading article of “Pravda” newspaper on  21 September 1941 “The war  and  the trade unions” the concrete tasks of the trade unions  were formulated. On the very first days of the war meetings  were held in many towns, region centers and villages. Many leading employees of the staff  of  the Council of  trade unions of Armenia and republican trade union committees went to the front on a voluntary basis. The republican trade union organizations took part in the military-defense activity thus rendered great support to the front.

   In the  post-war years the number of  trade union organizations and active-members increased. If in 1949 there were 2576 primary trade union organizations and they consolidated 161200 members, then in January 1951 there were 3191 organizations with total number of 207118 trade union  members. In accordance with the Labour Code of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic the trade unions were given certain rights.

   The trade unions represented the interests of the workers and industrial workers in industry,  labour, culture spheres.   They also participated in the working out and implementation of the plans of economic and social development,   organized  socialist competitions, mass technical work, promoted the strengthening of the industrial and labour discipline. The trade unions carried out  the control over  the observance of  the Labour Code and labour safety, controlled the providing the workers and civil workers with flats and improving  their living conditions, governed  the system of social insurance, sanatoriums, dispensaries and health resorts, cultural, tourist, sport  institutions, children (pioneer) camps.

   On the state on 1 January 1974  the council of trade unions of Armenia  had 1 200000 trade union members which were  united in 20 branch republican committees and 8135 primary organizations. In 1980  trade unions  affiliated more than 1 380000 members, in fact they united nearly all the people who worked in industry and agriculture.  During these years  the republican trade unions involved 24263 trade union groups, 6617  industrial committees, 9563 factory and plant, 242 district and  town, 21 branch republican committees.

The earthquake in 1988  which covered 40% of the territory of the republic with the population of 1 million people razed to the ground 17% of the housing fund of the republic and 400000 people became homeless.  The Council of  trade unions of Armenia organized the evacuation of the people from the disaster area. The trade unions  of all the republics of the former  USSR  gave a helping hand to the trade unions of Armenia and due to it 120000 children, women and elderly people were accommodated in these republics  in the different  sanatoriums, health-resorts, children’s camps and provided with  everything required.

After the collapse of  the USSR difficult situation  arose  in the republic as 90% of all the industrial enterprises had an  all-union status, they used imported raw materials and delivered their production to the all-union consumers’ market. Near  120000 workers were occupied in the light industry enterprises, more than 54000 people worked in 253 scientific-research and designing organizations and were the part of the all-union scientific-industrial complex.

The fundamental changes took place at the beginning of 1990 in political, economic and spiritual life of the society and the changes of the system of the state governing and the form of property, connected  with the transmission from planning economy to market relations, brought to  the social-economic crisis with all the consequences.

Mass unemployment  brought to the  growing  of  migration, especially of highly skilled scientists and engineers. In 1991-1996  nearly 650000 people left the country. In 2000 there  were 173000 unemployed  in the republic. The social-political situation in the republic demanded the  deep changes in the trade union  movement.

The 18-th Congress of  trade  unions of Armenia (1992)   which was attended  by 335 delegates, especially mentioned  the fact that the principles of democratic centralism as well as command methods of governing no longer correspond  to the changed  conditions, new labour relations and the democracy development.   On the assumption  of  these facts   24 branch republican trade  unions signed the Declaration on the foundation of the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia.

 The 18-th Congress of trade unions of Armenia took place on 10 January 1992. At  its sessions  the  activity carried out  after 17-th Congress and the questions of  renovating of trade union movement in the republic were discussed.  Taking into consideration the new demands of  the current situation and realizing the responsibility of trade unions in the issue of  the protection of labour, social-economic, professional and other interests of workers in the conditions of market relations, the Congress makes a decision – to dismiss  the Republican Council of trade unions of Armenia. The Congress  came to the decision to preserve the delegates and working bodies of the 18-th Congress in the same position as they had been – the delegates and  the working bodies of the 1-st  Congress of  the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia.

The  chairpersons  of  the  24 branch republican trade unions signed the Declaration  on the foundation of the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia. The Congress  approved the fundamental principles of the foundation and  the procedure of  the activity, the Regulations for the  Auditing    Commission.

On 29 April 1997 the 2-d Congress of the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia took place which considered  the report of the Council of the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia on the activity carried out  between  the 1-st  and  2-d Congresses.

The same Congress  amended   and supplemented  the CTU Constitution and  the Regulations for  the  Auditing  Commission.

After coming into force of  the new Civil Code on 1 January 1999 the necessity of the registration of all the unions in the State Register was  arisen  as well as of  the trade union

organizations as non-governmental organizations. On this purpose 26 December 2000 the 2-nd (extraordinary) Congress of the  Confederation of trade unions of Armenia was convened  which considered and adopted the Constitution of the “Confederation of trade unions of Armenia” the union of legal persons.

On 5  December 2000 the National Assembly of the  Republic of Armenia  adopted the Law “On  Trade  Unions”  which  was  necessary for bringing  the activity of the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia, the union of legal persons  into accordance with the  requirements of the law. With the same aim  the 24 branch unions held their Congresses, were  registered in the State Register as the branch republican unions of  the professional organizations. Only having passed  all  these procedures it  became possible to convene the 2-d (extraordinary) Congress of the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia, the union of  legal persons  and   the 1-st (Constituent) Congress of  the “Confederation of  trade unions  of Armenia) the republican union of professional organizations.

The Congress  adopted  the   Declaration   on the  foundation  of  the new  union and on the convening  of  the 1-st Congress of the  Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia, the  republican  union of   professional organizations.

The Congress considered  this event as historical  because the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia  for the first time had to act in accordance with the law  on  trade unions which determined   the order  of  the foundation of  trade unions, the principles of  their activity and their interactions  with  the state  bodies, the institutions of  local government, with legal and physical persons and also to  regulate the interactions of  the  trade unions with their members in the issue of  the protection  of  their rights and interests The Constitution of  the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia, republican union of professional organizations, the Regulations for the  Auditing  Commission and  the Activity Plan were adopted  by  the same Congress.  In 2002 the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia  affiliated  24  branch republican unions, 6641 primary  trade union organizations, 544182 trade union members.

The changes took place on the labour  market  which  promoted the privatization, the rapid rise of the private sector could not help affecting the trade union activity. On  very  this reason  the  active participation in the foundation of the legal base in the sphere of the labour relations has become the paramount task of the Confederation  of trade unions of Armenia.

 The activity of the Confederation of  trade  unions of Armenia  became more  efficient  after the approval in 2004  the new Labour Code which regulates collective and individual labour  relations, rights and obligations of  two  parts, their responsibility,  as well as  the  securing  of  safety   and health   of workers.

On  26 November 2007 the  2-d Congress   of  the Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia  took  place , 119  delegates  participated in its work. The Congress   discussed the report  of the “Confederation of  trade unions of Armenia” republican union  of professional organizations on the activity carried out  in between 2002-2007 and  the guidelines for the activity in 2008-2012.  The Congress  amended   the Constitution of  the “Confederation  of  trade  unions  of  Armenia” republican union of professional organizations, approved  the Activity Plan of the CTU in 2008-2012 and the Regulations for the  Auditing Commission of the CTU.

On 23 November 2012 the 3-d Congress of the Confederation of trade unions of Armenia was held. Eduard Tumasyan was reelected  Chairman of the CTUA, Boris Kharatyan and Khachik Arakelyan were reelected Deputy Chairmen.

According to 2013 data  20  branch republican unions are affiliated  with the CTUA which comprise 713 trade union organizations with 226085 total number of members.

As of January 1, 2015 twenty branch republican unions are affiliated in the Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia, numbering 208,236 trade union members registered in 703 trade union organizations.