Due to the number of lethal accidents in Georgia in the last year, we are in a crisis, says union confederation GTUC. Workplace trauma caused 30 fatalities and 32 serious injuries. Majority of these accidents are occurring at building sites and factories producing construction supplies. Following these professions is the metallurgical, chemical and quarry; energy production; petroleum and coal production; communications; railway; metro (subway); and other fields of labor. The mines and quarries of Tkibuli and Chiatura are also in a critical condition and prone to numerous risk factors.
These statistics are caused by numerous factors such as: an oversight agency of the government such as the ones in all of the western developed nations does not exist (Georgian government’s National Labor Inspection agency was abolished in 2006); technical oversight agency does not have representatives in the fields that are considered to be difficult, hazardous and dangerous; employer and employees are to settle the issues relating to compensation between themselves in cases of occupational injury; court cases and investigation of occupational injuries takes anywhere from 2 to 4 years; financial and organizational-technical priorities pertaining to lawyers are noticeably in favor of employers; the new law on “controlling technical dangers” does not have perspective in terms of implementation since a powerful system that could enforce health checks prior to and periodically during the employment does not exist, which means that the employee must periodically visit the doctor on his own and usually finds out about an occupational disease he or she incurred after it is too late to treat and the individual is practically handicapped.
The union thinks that a formation of governmental oversight agency (Labor Inspection) is necessary in order to improve the situation faced by the workers. This agency should be organized and modernized. It is necessary to foresee the trade union’s function as a social oversight organization within the law. The fact of the matter is that the critical situation that exists in the labor safety and health does not leave space for ignorance and neutrality.
On the 28th of April, Georgian Trade Unions Confederation will organize a performance-protest in front of the Ministry of Economy. Afterwards, the organization shall hold a mourning service in one of the churches of Tbilisi in order to honor those who suffered a fatal end while performing their occupational duties.
See Anabella Rosemberg’s blog in Equal Times