YEREVAN -- Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian has said that Nairit, Armenia’s largest chemical plant, has resumed operations but at less than half its capacity, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.
Sarkisian said the news about the Yerevan plant, which almost went bankrupt in March, is an "essential [development] for the state." He said that when Nairit is in operation "we will be among the world's leading chemical states."
The plant put much of its 2,000-strong workforce on unpaid leave in December and production dwindled until April 25-26, when it produced synthetic rubber, its main product, for the first time in five months.
Some employees said they work for low pay or in "very hazardous conditions" at the plant, an elderly woman told RFE/RL.
Vahan Melkonian, Nairit's chief operating officer, said he is encouraged by the factory's relaunch but the company is still losing money.
Nairit employs some 2,800 people and the state holds a 10 percent stake.