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7 Days of Strike Ended by 7-Point Agreement between Minibus Drivers and Tbilisi Minibus Company

Published: February 4, 2013 | 9:40 am
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

Minibuses are seen driving in Georgias capital again after a week of strike wave. 7 Days of strike ended by 7-point agreement between Minibus drivers and Tbilisi Minibus Company. According to David Asanidze, Technical Director of the company, 80% of the drivers demands are satisfied.

“Indeed, a week-long strike is a serious damage for the company. However, we’ll continue work and will compensate the losses. It’s important that the agreement made with the drivers excludes the repetition of such incident in future,” Asanidze told CT. At this phase, Tbilisi Minibus Company does not disclose concrete volume of financial losses.

According to the agreement, first, the company will assist the drivers in legal issues in regards to individual entrepreneur taxes. Second, strike leader drivers will continue work. Third, drivers will choose themselves where to conduct technical checking of mini buses. Fourth, drivers will not make payment within 7 days, which will compensate their losses of 7 days strike. Fifth, by the end of March will be conducted chronometgare of certain routes, which are said to have unfair payments. Sixths, machine wear-out payment will be revised. Sevenths, initiative group will be able to discuss problems together with the company representatives.

FYI, the demands of drivers were as follows: abolishment of individual entrepreneur status for them, decrease of payment (which makes GEL 60 a day), free choice of places for technical checking of mini buses, restoring laid off drivers back to job. Also, drivers were demanding that mini bus transportation fee should be cut down to 50 Tetri. Drivers were also requiring to meet the Mayor of Tbilisi.

Information was spread that Tbilisi Metropolitan was also intended to join the strike of mini bus drivers. Tamaz Robakidze, PR Manager of Tbilisi Metropolitan, told CT that the statement was false.

According to the information uploaded on the official website of City Hall on January 26, the number of municipal transport was increased in the capital during the mini bus strike period (referring to buses and metro trains). However, this appeared not to be enough as Tbilisi population were still complaining about transportation issues. Moreover, some of taxi drivers started to increase tariffs.

On the seventh day of the mini bus strike, Gigi Ugulava, Mayor of Tbilisi made a statement, calling central government not to interfere negatively in negotiations with drivers. In his words, seizure of Tbiline mini buses by National Bureau of Enforcement, was the reason for ruining the agreement reached with drivers.

Seizure

On the seventh day of the strike, TBC Bank spread a statement about the seizure of Tbiline mini buses.

As Technical Director of Tbilisi Minibus Company told CT, the initial information about the seizure was not correct. “TBC Bank took prevention measures in order to avoid the damage of mini buses. Today, all the mini busses are working as usual.”

Maia Dzirkvelishvili, PR Manager of TBC Bank, told CT that the seizure process was started, but was stopped shortly: “Since it was stated that the agreement between drivers and the company is settled, we decided not to hinder the process. The seizure would concern 150 vehicles only and the company has 2500 mini buses out of which 1800 active ones is needed for Tbilisi. It means that 700 mini vehicles could be used as a reserve. Thus, because of the seizure Tbilisi transportation would face no challenges. Still, in order to clear the doubts, TBC Bank decided to stop the seizure process.”

TBC Bank does not disclose concrete volume of credit Tbiline owes to the bank. “It’s confidential information and can be revealed only in agreement with the client. I would say that it’s a big money. Since the company restarted functioning, we believe it will continue making the payment and the problem will be solved,” noted Dzirkvelushvili.

The week-long mini bus strike is over. However, the seven days of complicated transportation have been hard for Tbilisi population, both in terms of comfort and finances.

FYI, since the October, 2012 parliamentary elections, it’s the second time that Tbilisi faces transportation related issues. The first was the strike of so called Yellow Busses, the drivers of which were demanding salary rise. In November, 2012 bus drivers presented 16-point demand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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