EC seminar "EU-Georgia Dialogue on Labour, Employment and Social Issues"

The European Commission organised two day seminar “EU-Georgia Dialogue on Labour, Employment and Social Issues: Labour standards and inspection” on 19 and 20 September in Tbilisi, where some 80 participants from European institutions, ILO, trade union and employers’ organisations from Europe and Georgia, as well as Georgian government and civil society organisations took part. During different sessions, the seminar debated the state of labour standards implementation in Georgia, the role of labour standards in promoting sustainable businesses, role of labour inspection in protecting labour rights, preventing labour risks in EU, as well as national practices of labour standards implementation supervision.

Georgia has a long story of non-compliance with the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation, particularly after labour legislation reforms that brought libertarian labour code and abolished labour inspection in 2006. Since then, following the intensive critics of the trade union movement, the International Labour Organisation, the European Union and selected national governments, including US, the labour code was amended in 2013, but it took five more years to launch again national labour inspection in August 2018. While it is still a new institution and its activities are too early to evaluate, the trade unionists, as well as EU and ILO officials and some business representatives, highlighted further needs to extend its mandate for beyond occupational health and safety regulations and to empower inspectors to implement their duties on workers rights protection supervision. The government announced that these processes were already initiated in the Parliament.

Under Association Agreement that Georgia concluded with the European Union it has to harmonize its legislation, including in the labour field, with the EU frameworks, and in particular, on health and safety and labour inspection by September 2019.
The European trade union movement was represented by PERC Executive Secretary Anton Leppik, who intervened on the role of international labour standards for sustainable economic development, Karoly Gyorgy from Hungarian Trade Union Confederation, who focused on role of social partners in cooperating with the labour inspectorates in EU countries, and ETUC special advisor Jozef Niemiec. PERC and GTUC President Irakli Petriashvili and GTUC Vice-President Raisa Lipertaniani presented Georgian union positions on different discussion topics.