Tag Archives: Georgia

Georgia: GTUC statement on International Workers’ Memorial Day #iwmd21

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Georgia, #IWMD21
GTUC • საქართველოს პროფკავშირების გაერთიანება
❗️ April 28 is the International Day of the Dead and injured at workplace
▪ On the International Day of Remembrance of Employees, the Union of Professional Unions of Georgia joins the demand of the world trade unions, so that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Labor and Health of Employers in the Workplace, recognizes as fundamental rights, as well as:
▪ Right to effective recognition of freedom of union and collective negotiations;
▪ Abolition of forced or compulsory labor;
▪ Elimination of children’s labor;
▪ Prohibition of discrimination in workplaces;
Every year 2,6 million people die from job related professional illness and injuries. The pandemic has made the situation even more difficult.
The pandemic has clearly shown us the vulnerable conditions in which employees and citizens are in. Evidence from all over the world proves that the virus is spreading in jobs and not only in healthcare and care, but also in factories, meat products, warehouses, schools, offices, transport and other sectors.
Therefore, it is especially important that labor safety and health be discussed in the rank of fundamental rights.
In addition, it is necessary to recognize Covid 19 as a professional disease.
Every 10 seconds in the world, one person dies due to labor safety standards deficiency. If lots of employees worked in shameful conditions before the pandemic, the situation got even worse today.
We urge the government to carry out comprehensible responsibilities to protect employers and community members who move into or touch with such employment areas. This is their fundamental right.
The 2019 declaration of the International Labour Organization, which governments, employers, and trade unions have been unanimously adopted, includes a promise to keep the employee healthy and safe in the workplace. The rules of the International Labour Organization also include such conditions. And the World Health Organization already recognizes health as a fundamental human right.
One of the main priority issues in labor relations for the Union of Georgia’s professional connections was and is labor safety, as far as human life and health are the greatest value.
Important steps have been taken to improve labor safety in Georgia in recent years to demand trade union. Laws on ′′ Labour Safety ′′ and ′′ Labor Inspection ′′ have been enacted. Labor Inspection Service has formed a separate public law legal personal with an increased mandate, which means overseeing labor standards in all economics.
The Labor Inspection Service Consultancy Organisation-Advisory Council has been established.
If we move forward in terms of the legislation regulating the above-mentioned labor safety and perfection, we cannot say the same about legislation.
Georgian legislative acts of so-called ′′ Technical Regulations ′′ that came into force since 2013, cover only some parts of economic activity. Accordingly, in areas where labor safety issues are not regulated by Georgian normative acts, employers and supervisors should be led by the Soviet normative acts in force before 1992 Supervision agencies in those areas of activity do not have legal mechanism for employers to arrest administrative houses.
It is necessary to improve labor safety in the country: refinement of the legislative base and strict enforcement of the law. The main indicators for assessing labor safety are statistics on industrial accidents and professional diseases. The latter is not calculated by the state until now.
Labor safety remains the main challenge in 2020, the number of deaths in jobs reached 39, and the number of injured reached 249
45 died in 2019, and 59 seriously injured in 168. 2018 were killed and 199 injured seriously. There is a sensible loss in the construction sector in terms of deaths between last year and 2019, in particular in 2020, 11 and 44 seriously injured, while 29 died in 2019 and seriously injured 54 A human being.
One of the important conditions for effective enforcement of the law is the number of labor inspectors in the country and the opening of regional structures. Today Georgia has only 53 labor inspectors, whose localization is only the capital.
We believe that it is important to take into account the state of labor safety and to reduce the accidents in the workplace and take into account the above-mentioned disadvantages of the state.

Unions from Central Asia and Eastern Europe prepare for International Workers’ Memorial Day | BWI

On 22 April, trade union leaders from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine held a virtual meeting to discuss their participation in BWI’s workers’ memorial week campaign. They also discussed lockdown measures in their countries, necessary courses of action to take to protect workers’ rights and income, and constraints on and opportunities for trade union actions during and after the pandemic.

“In Georgia, we witness an outstanding shift in how workers are perceived. Workers are on the frontlines of the economy. We are not on a total lockdown, so some of the building materials companies and construction sites continue to work. Constructions workers are building hospitals to help overcome the pandemic crisis. We are not allowed to do safety inspections on the construction sites, but we keep in contact with our members, provide them education and information materials on COVID-19 safety measures, and urge employers to comply with national and international standards” – said Marina Kurtanidze, President of Georgian Building and Forestry Workers Trade Union.

“In Kazakhstan, since 20 April 20, all construction sites are back to work under the condition of strict compliance with COVID-19 measures. This happened on the eve of workers’ memorial week and our trade union produced a campaign video to call on employers to comply with safety measures on construction sites, including physical distance, face masks for every worker, safe transportation and accommodation, sanitizers and handwashing stations, sanitation of work tools and workplaces, and daily health screening for all workers”. – according to Kuseyn Esengazin, president of the Kazakhstan Building and Communal Workers Trade Union.

“In Kyrgyzstan, the lockdown is quite strict, but some construction companies and construction sites continue to work. We work individually with our members to provide them legal support and we have organized a webinar to inform members about safety measures on construction sites and workers’ rights. We take this COVID crisis as an opportunity to revive labour inspection, which was almost destroyed” – said Eldiar Karachalov, vice president of the Kyrgyzstan Building Workers Trade Union.

“In Ukraine, our top priority is to ensure safety of construction workers and secure workers incomes. Unfortunately, during these difficult times, some of the employers don’t pay workers’ wages, explaining that this is due to the COVID-19 crisis. This put our members in extremely vulnerable situations, as they get neither their wages nor unemployment benefits. We are preparing public actions, concerning vulnerability and safety measures, to draw public attention to this unacceptable situation”. – said Vasyl Andreyev, PROFBUD president.

“In Moldova, we are in very difficult situation. The government announced a state of emergency in the country. All decisions are to be made by the State of Emergency Council. Trade unions and employers are not included in this Council, so government makes unilateral decisions which are not in favour of working people. Almost all construction sites are closed with workers sent home without wages. We are using every opportunity to call on the government to consider trade union positions to secure workers income and protect jobs” – said Victor Talmach, SINDICONS president.

“In Russia, wood and forestry sectors continue to operate. Some of the companies in the wood sector had to partially shut down their production due to lack of demand. In this respect, workers income and health and safety measures on the worksites are our key priority. At nearly every workplace, what are called Antivirus committees were organized where trade union representatives are present. We want to ensure that all the decisions related to COVID-19 measures at the work place are made with consideration of the trade union position” – said Denis Zhuravlev, president of the Russian Timber Workers’ Trade Union.

BWI news report.

Georgian unions protest at the ministry over safety ‘crisis’

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