Georgia: Violence and Lack of Respect for Social Dialogue

The ITUC, together with the ETUC and the ITF, has expressed its deep concern about the dispersion of a peaceful protest action of workers of Georgian Railways and trade unions and community activists by the police on 24 August 2017.

Three workers started protest actions against Georgian Railways by launching a hunger strike by sitting in front of the company headquarters after having being informed about the change of the place of their employment, transferring them about 150 kilometres without any provision for daily transport arrangement or allowance. Despite receiving support from trade unionists and community activists, the workers were forced to leave the premises by the authorities, and their camp was destroyed. The police dispersed the protest and detained dozens of activists.

“Once again, backroom manoeuvres by employers have weakened what should have been legislation that properly protects workers from exploitation,” said Sharan Burrow. “In Georgia, the government systematically fails to guarantee the rights of workers and their unions. Georgia is often a source of violations, and Georgian Railways company is an obvious illustration. When state-owned companies suppress workers’ rights, activism and dialogue with unions, business in the private sector enjoys full dominance over workers.”

Georgia signed the EU Associate Agreement aligning the country with EU values and principles. The recent lack of respect for social dialogue and the failure to guarantee the rights of workers for peaceful assembly and protest actions give an opposite picture. “The situation must change without delay,” added Burrow.

See the ITUC, ETUC and ITF letter for more information