EU must act now on labour rights in Georgia

Brussels, 22 November 2011 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has applauded the decision by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to examine whether Georgia should continue to receive US trade preferences in view of the poor labour rights record of President Saakashvili’s government. The USTR action follows a request submitted by the AFL-CIO. The European Union has so far refused to take similar action, even though its rules for trade preferences have stronger labour standards for beneficiary countries than does the US.

“Europe has strong social values, and it is deeply disappointing that in relation to Georgia, they are not standing up for those very values. We urge them to reconsider their refusal to extend support to the workers of Georgia, who are subjected to serious violations of fundamental rights at work,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

“In Georgia, the government itself has sought to eliminate trade unions, sometimes by force, has promoted government-dominated unions and has prohibited the transfer of voluntary member dues in order to choke off the unions’ financial resources. Georgian courts have ignored obvious anti-union discrimination, instead reading the protections of the trade union law out of existence,” explained ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “The EU cannot allow this behaviour to continue to be rewarded.”

To see the ETUC’s statement on this issue:

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