The EU-Georgia Association Council meeting on 16 March is called on to do more to advance workers’ rights and European values by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC).
ETUC and GTUC point out that
- Long-waited legal changes to labour law in Georgia are welcome, but more has to be done
- EU provides COVID assistance and this assistance must be transparent to all in Georgia and discussed with social partners
- EU mediation is vital to resolve the current Georgian political conflict
EU-Georgian co-operation contributed to the revision of a Labor Code and adoption of Law on Labor Inspection in September last year, but ETUC and GTUC underline that much more is needed.
In particular the ETUC and GTUC call for Georgia to take further steps including to
- Put full, productive, freely-chosen employment and decent work at the centre of economic and recovery policies;
- Improve social and maternity protection, including protection from unemployment
- Set up adequate minimum wage (currently 7 euro a month in the private sector!) and wage-setting mechanisms;
- Promote collective bargaining and national social dialogue;
- Tackle persistent gender gaps and discrimination;
- Ensure that freedom of association and the right to strike is fully respected.
ETUC and GTUC will continue monitoring developments, both on the way to implement EU Acquis and to tackle COVID19 crisis, through different EU-Georgia Association Agreement and DCFTA implementation monitoring mechanisms, including civil society platforms and domestic advisory groups.
ETUC and GTUC expect that the EU mediation processes established in the country to overcome political deadlock should not be based on narrow vision of politicians, but on a broader understanding of challenges, aspirations and needs of Georgian citizens, workers and members of their families. ETUC and GTUC respect the democratic choice of Georgian people in Autumn elections, reject any attempts to undermine democratic processes established in the country and to externalise internal conflicts. We judge political elites not by their words, promises and rhetoric, but by concrete steps they undertake and to improve the wellbeing of all the Georgian workers. It will be regretful if a fragile process to rebuild social dialogue and civilise labour relations in the country is again undermined by political ambitions of individuals.
The Labor Code of Georgia and the Georgian Law on Labor Inspection addresses a range of labor rights: including working hours; workers’ rights during massive layoffs or the change of ownership of companies; introduction of parental leave; broadening the mandate of the State Labour Inspectorate (LI) to monitor the enforcement of all labour rights, not just occupational safety and health (OSH); definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, definition of harassment, prohibition of unequal pay for equal work; mass redundancy, introduction of exchange of information and consultation at the workplace.