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Georgia: Government and Unions Reach Agreement

22 December 2008: The Georgian Government and the Georgian Employers’ Association and Trade Unions came to an agreement about future cooperation, working on social issues and the rights of workers. The official document has been signed by the Georgian Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Alexander Kvitashvili, President of Georgian Trade Unions Confederation Irakli Petriashvili, and Elguja Meladze, President of the Georgian Employers’ association.

According to the agreement, the three organizations will have a permanent dialogue, meetings and sessions, to cover and solve problems related to healthcare for the employed, in both the formal and informal sector, protection of health and safety conditions in the work place, and protection of both workers’ and employers’ interests and rights. The official tripartite document includes the responsibility to create an unemployment insurance system that doesn’t yet exist in Georgia, also to make initiatives for pension system reforms and to work on a project that will help the tripartite dialogue cover different regions of the country.

Petriashvili said in the opening word, “Every country has a civil dialogue process, when employers, employees and government representatives work together. This kind of dialogue can solve many problems. That’s why we want to implement lots of important projects.”

The dialogue means that the three parties should discuss the legislative initiatives connected to social and economic issues, in order to achieve progress on the Labor Code and other important issues.

Georgia’s Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, Alexander Kvitashvili, said, “For us the most important issues are to develop our country’s economy and educational system, to create job opportunities. We have many special programs for people, including additional training programs for workers of different fields, which we are starting very soon.”

In order to conduct a dialogue and create a plan for implementation and development of the programs, the three organizations agreed on working terms and conditions.

“The social partners will meet at least biweekly in order to discuss the current socio-economic situation and to solve the raised problems; in order to solve these problems the parties will carry out specific joint activities.”

The Georgian Government will allocate respective funding for the functioning of the ad hoc commission, as well as for organizing the meetings. Also, the government takes responsibility to appoint a person to organize the meetings and coordinate different procedures. That person will be funded by the Government.

“We have been working on the agreement for quite a long time, and I’m happy that I see the result today. We’ll see the real and very impressive results of the agreement very soon, after we begin to work jointly,” said Meladze.

“This is the first moment during my two and a half years of working on this position that I don’t criticize the government, and I give my thanks to the minister,” Petriashvili said later.

Every six months from the signature date of this agreement, the social partners and the government must evaluate the progress reached in relation to fulfillment of this agreement, and discuss future steps and related activities. The agreement was signed on December 16.

/GTUC

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Tripartite agreement in Georgia

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Work Plan , Black Sea , New Independent States , industrial conflicts and actions
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