Thematic workshop “Trade unions capacity building to work with those engaged in informal economic relations”, Georgia

29-30 of October in Adjaria region of Georgia took place thematic workshop “Trade unions capacity building to work with those engaged in informal economic relations”. The workshop was organized in framework of the FNV-PERC project on informal economy.

Participants: project target sectors - construction, commerce, self-employed, transport, textile branches, Adjaria regional organisation representatives.

Expert moderators: Gocha Aleksandrija, GTUC Vice-President, Sergejus Glovackas, ITUC/PERC

Participants discussed existing service packages for Trade Union members from informal economy situations, prepared recommendations on organizational structure and capacity development of workers organizations in these situations. New organization of self-employeed market sellers was presented.

Zaza Agladze, the chairperson of the self-employed and commerce trade union, told that they decided to set up the trade union because the traders had no social guarantees at all, after reading the Labour code they understood that they can defend themselves only via the trade union. The classical approach was not proper with these people, they started to prepare the social package, they prepared the privileged insurance agreements, discounts system in the shops, the most important was approaching people and direct collaboration, the collective agreement is prepared with the Rustavi market place Administration foreseeing the fix tax for the place for trade,now they unite 500 paying members, 3000 total membership. While preparing the collective agreement they asked all traders and they expressed the certain issues to be included into the collective agreement: not to pay tax on the trading place during the annual leave, some traders demanded to privatize the working places as they are paying the tax on the trading place since 1996.

The membership fees are fixed - 3 laris per month, some are paying via banks and others in cash. The founding meeting was conducted in February, they joined the commerce trade union and became the GTUC members. Now the regional structure is being strengthening, some traders are suspicious about the trade unions as they think that it works for the administration. Now they are trying to organize all – the traders and security. The membership fees structure is interesting: firstly they collect fees centralized and if the organization has below 101 members then 30% of the collected fees goes to the local, if 300 members - 40% returns, if 500 members - 50% back, this system stimulates the consolidation of small organizations and their merges.

Sergeus Glovackas