"On 7 October 2011, the International Day for Decent Work, FNV Mondiaal handed out the 11th Febe Elizabeth Velasquez Trade Union Award to Irakli Petriashvili, President of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC). This Award was named after a Salvadorian trade union activist who was killed because of her activities for the trade union, and pays tribute to union leaders who take personal risks in defending trade union rights in their countries.
This paper underlines that after raised hopes and initial progress in the fields of democracy and human rights just after the Rose Revolution, human and labour rights are in decay in recent years. The strike at the metallurgical plant ‘’Hercules’’ in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city, shows this clearly. But also findings of international observers and OSCE and the Bertelsmann Foundation raised substantial concerns over irregularities during Presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections.
In 2006 the Georgian Government adopted a Labour Code that violates fundamental labour and trade union rights and undermines a row of established standards by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Since 1919, the ILO has maintained and developed a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. The International trade Union Confederation and Education International have raised at several occasions their concerns, and supported the GTUC in official complains to the ILO.
The European Commission recognises the official recommendations of the ILO Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations requesting Georgia (2010) to amend the Labour Code and the Law on Trade Unions in order to comply with ILO conventions but is not ready in the frame of the GSP+ to initiate an investigation for temporary withdrawal of the trade preferences.
With this paper we call upon the European Commission to take the ILO recommendations into consideration and call for international solidarity to support GTUC and its President Irakli Petriashvili to stand up for human and labour rights in Georgia."