9.10.12 The Georgian Trade Unions Confederation (GTUC) welcomes the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary elections and democratic transfer of power, which is an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of our country. Congratulations once again and we wish you success in your work to the benefit of our country and people.
Since 2008 every year on 7th October, along with the rest of the world’s labour movement, the GTUC traditionally celebrates ”World Day of Decent Work”. WDDW was established by the International Trade Union Confederation to which the GTUC is affiliated since its foundation in 2006. WDDW is a day for mobilisation for all trade unions across the globe. On 7 October Georgian trade union movement have been protesting the intolerable situation on the labour market, mass unemployment, discriminative labor laws and the persecution and even arrest of trade union activists. Also, we have been marking the merit of those people, who devotedly toil every day in their workplaces for welfare of their families, communities and the whole county.
According to the new political reality and political program of the “Georgian Dream” Coalition, where labour rights and trade union are taken into account, the GTUC decided not to hold protest rallies on October 7 this year. Instead the GTUC held a large meeting of the union activists from across the country and discussed the current situation. The participants unanimously expressed hope that the country will turn from the complex mix of neo-Bolshevik-Libertarian absurd and will be oriented towards social justice and the promotion of truly democratic values.
WDDW is marked by many countries around the world. Some countries do celebrate their own official Labour Day just like the United States, where every year the first Monday of September is a Labour Day and this day is a national holiday. We think that despite the fact that in Georgia we celebrate the days of separate professions, celebrating a national labour day would increase civil solidarity, promote democratic development and employees would feel that they are full-fledged citizens and owners of their country and not like Africans slaves of 17th century America. But, “the Labour Day” alone can’t restore human dignity. It is necessary to carry out appropriate activities and to start implementation of fundamental changes immediately.
We believe the respect of hard-working people and the creation of fair, decent and safe working conditions for them is a cornerstone of development of the economy of the country. If we officially establish “the Labour Day” as a national holiday and celebrate it with solidarity, it will be an important step towards strengthening the country and an increase of the responsibility of civil society.
The GTUC has been addressing every year the President and Parliament of Georgia with a request to recognize WDDW as a Labour Day and make it national holiday, but so far we have not had any results. Moreover, the implementation of this initiative of the GTUC would not require any changes in Georgian legislation.
Also, we want to draw your attention to one of the most important and problematic issue for trade union movement. The GTUC has been constantly and strongly requested from the government to change extremely discriminative labour code. The governments of the United States and European Union, International Labour Organization, European Council and other international institutions along with international trade union movement do support our position and strongly demand to make changes in the legislation.
We are glad, that your political program is fully consistent with our position, which was confirmed once again in your speech in the meeting with businessmen on October 5.
We do hope that we will begin social dialogue, where relationship between the GTUC and government will built on a mutual respect and principles of meaningful and “good faith” cooperation, which will help country to reduce unemployment, develop the labour market, economy and contribute towards promotion of democracy in the country.
On behalf of the Participants of the Meeting
6 October, 2012