ILO ACTRAV: How to promote Social Dialogue in Georgia

Georgia recently ratified the ILO Convention on Tripartite Consultation N°144. In this interview, Irakli Petriashvili, President of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC) shared his views about the benefits of social dialogue in Georgia. As President of the ITUC’s Pan European Regional Council-PERC, M. Petriashvili also stressed the role of governments and social partners in strengthening social dialogue and tripartism in the Eastern Europe region.

ACTRAV INFO: Georgia has ratified the ILO Convention on Tripartite Consultations n° 144. Why is this ratification important for your country?

Of course, I welcome the ratification of ILO Convention n°144 on `Tripartite Consultations to Promote the Implementation of International Labour Standards’by the Parliament of Georgia on November 2, 2017. This is of special significance for us as we had called for this to happen for a long time and GTUC had promoted the ratification and now we can see that the Georgian state has committed to launch real and effective dialogue between social partners – the government, employers and trade unions under international labour standards. The convention is based on ILO fundamental Conventions n°87 and n°98 that guarantee freedom of association and the right to organize, the promotion of collective bargaining and the principles of tripartism. I would like to thank the ILO and the Bureau for Workers’ Activities- (ACTRAV) for contributing to this achievement.

Ratifying the convention is even more important considering the challenges related to social dialogue in Georgia nowadays. The deficit of social dialogue in my country, at large, is a direct consequence of the inefficiency of the`Tripartite Commission on Social Partnership`. We believe that the government, together with social partners, will take adequate measures for the work of the Commission to be truly efficient, by establishing social justice and social peace throughout the country, opening the way for the ratification of other very much needed conventions in the area of occupational safety and health, labour law compliance etc. Unfortunately, in our region, Georgia remains the country with the lowest rate of ratification of ILO standards. Tripartite social dialogue is just the right instrument to address the existing huge gap in this regard.

ACTRAV INFO: In your view, how can workers in Georgia benefit from the implementation of this Convention?

It is internationally recognized that tripartism and social dialogue are powerful tools for regulating labour markets, concurrently guaranteeing decent work, inclusive growth and social justice. I believe that if the convention is implemented appropriately and real social dialogue is launched in Georgia, it will drastically improve labour rights, social security standards, gender equality and better regulate non-standard forms of employment, etc.

ACTRAV INFO: Social dialogue remains an important challenge in many Eastern European Countries, in particular for Georgia. What could be the role of governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations in addressing this challenge in your region?

Indeed, despite the ratification of ILO Convention n°144 by a number of countries, practicing social dialogue remains one of the key challenges in the region. I believe all stakeholders should re-assess the benefits that social dialogue bring – there is no alternative. Accordingly, governments, as well as workers’ organizations and employers should join their efforts, and create social dialogue development plans, taking into account the lessons learnt and experiences of other countries. Improving social dialogue at the national level would inevitably bring more and more positive dynamics to bilateral social dialogue between unions and employers at the enterprise level, also facilitating an increase of coverage by collective bargaining agreements, an area for which our country has experienced a significant set-back over the last few years. It goes without saying that high quality collective agreements pave the way for productivity increases and make the economy more competitive. This means more jobs with decent work conditions.

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