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Special Commission will Regulate Georgia’s Labour Strikes

Published: November 9, 2012 | 10:01 pm
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The COMMERCIAL TIMES

Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili on behalf of the Prime Minister issued a special statement with regard to strikes across the country. In accordance with the decision of the Prime Minister the government commission on industrial relations and social dialogue is being established, which will be headed by Bidzina Ivanishvili.

According to Kvirikashvili, the special commission will be in charge of discussing these problems and taking adequate measures for mediating between the employs and the employers.

“A special commission will be established under the supervision of the Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, which will become a mediator. We believe that it will be a very efficient mechanism for regulating this problem,” the Minister said.

The situation is difficult in the port of Poti, the work of which is still paralyzed.

“The purpose of this committee is to promote the dialogue between employers and workers, and problem solving. I want to address sympathy of Ivanishvili to the strikers and desire to personally look into the problems of the port of Poti’s workers,” he said.

Kvirikashvili appealed to the leadership of the port to take all measures to normalize the situation, as each day of the strike has a negative impact on economic stability: “Delivery of goods, which has a strategic importance for the country, is broke down, so we ask the strikers to end the strike and return to work.”

The port is important not only because it connects South Caucasus to the outside world but also because it is an important transit hub for the flow of goods between Europe and Central Asia, as part of the Trans-Caucasian Corridor (TRACECA).

Strikes are ongoing in the capital as well. Over 1, 300 drivers of municipal buses are demanding 100% growth of their salaries. The drivers went to on strike on November 8 causing transportation problems to the residents of Tbilisi. They presented a list of 16 requirements to the government of the capital on 15 of which the agreement has been reached. However, the 16th issue – growth of salaries is still unsolved. The municipal officials say the growth of salaries depends on the funds, which should be allocated in the state budget, but currently it is impossible.

People are striking underground too. The miners, who work in the Itkhvisi mine, Chiatura, are still on strike refusing to work unless their working conditions are improved and their salaries increased. The miners went on strike about three weeks ago and refuse to quit the protest until their demands are satisfied. About 20 protestors remain underground at the end of the 2,500 meter-long mine. The mine manager company Manganese Georgia has promised to increase salaries to its staff with 32%, however, the protestors say only after 40% growth they will suspend the protest.

The workers of the cargo transit department of the Georgian Railway were on strike for two hours, causing suspension of railway operation. The employs were expressing their protest demanding growth of their salaries.

IDS Borjomi Georgia managed to shortly settle issues with striking employees. On October 26, the company released a statement saying that the working process in Borjomi N1 factory has been restored on the fourth day of the strike.

Problems are solved in Telasi as well. The management of the Telasi Power Distribution company and its 125 former employs, who were dismissed last summer, reached an agreement. Director General of the company announced his decision on November 8 that these people would return to their jobs from November 12. The decision was introduced to protestors by the representative of the Trade Unions. The acting Commercial Director of the company also met with the protestors to introduce this decision.

The protestors say they will put tents and begin permanent rallies unless the dismissed employs are returned to their positions on Monday.

Georgian Labor Code allows employers to fire workers at any time without explanation. The new parliamentary majority Georgian Dream coalition promises to review the Labor Code.

“The current code makes slavery work legal. Employed person has no rights; employer is not obliged to create working conditions for employees. Moreover, in our country it’s very easy to lay off people. We must write the code that will equally consider the rights of the employer and the employee,” Nodar Khaduri, Minister of Finance of Georgia told The COMMERCIAL TIMES during an interview in October.

 

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