More than 100 work-study participants employed by NGO Digital Divide Data (DDD) in the capitol’s Chamkarmon district jumped on the strike bandwagon on Monday, demanding the same monthly wage garment workers are calling for, a union representative said yesterday.
Employees are charged with transforming physical documents into searchable archives for a variety of clients.
The work-study participants are disadvantaged youth and range in age from 19 to 26, according to DDD chief development officer Michael Chertok.
“The total value of this program, including salary, incentive, benefits, English training, scholarship and work experience, can be seen in the long-term benefits, where our graduates leverage this experience to earn more than four times the national average income,” Chertok said in a written statement yesterday.
But according to their union president, An Sonovin, 38, the monthly wage of $88 simply isn’t enough.
“I would like the organisation to think about us and not just offer a small salary for its staff,” he said, adding that participants were demanding the director of the NGO’s human resources department – whom they claimed was rude – be fired, a monthly wage of $160 and better access to doctors.
A human resources staffer who spoke to the Post on condition of anonymity described a far more favourable work environment than the one painted by union reps.
“They only work six hours a day [six days a week] and participants can work overtime if desired and are offered $20 per month as incentive. In sum, they can earn from $130 up to $150 a month,” he said.
Cynthia Hauck, chief operations officer, confirmed the 36-hour work week and reiterated the NGO’s commitment to its employees.
“We have this program so they can learn and go out and better the world.”