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Georgian thermal power plant workers gain wage increase after strike

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14 November, 2019After a six-day strike by workers of the Tbilisi hydroelectric power plant, the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers, an IndustriALL affiliate, reached an agreement with the employer to increase wages and start collective bargaining.

About 200 workers of the Gardabani thermal power plant of Tbilisi hydroelectric power plant ended a six-day strike on 11 November after the union came to an agreement with the employer to increase wages by 25 per cent from 1 January 2020 and to introduce a thirteenth salary. The employer has also started a review of the draft collective agreement submitted by the union.

According to Amiran Zenaishvili, the chairman of the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers, workers demanded a 50 per cent wage increase. The wages at Gardabani thermal power plant have not increased since 2014. In addition, workers demanded a 20 per cent increase of nighttime rates; this requirement will be a part of a collective agreement. Amiran Zenaishvili noted the positive outcome of the strike was achieved thanks to the unity of the strikers.

 

According to the union, the 266 people working at the Gardabani thermal power plant earn between GEL 320 (about US $100) and GEL 1,500 (about US $500) per month. In May 2019, the employer had already made an oral promise to raise wages by 20 per cent, but still had not fulfilled it.

IndustriALL regional secretary Vadim Borisov congratulated the workers and the union on the agreement, and said:

“IndustriALL Global Union supports the just demands of the workers for a wage increase. Workers have a fundamental right to earn decent wages, to collective bargaining and to safe and healthy workplaces.”