Severe union busting in Georgia

26.02.2015

Georgia’s leading mining company, Rich Minerals Group (RMG) is coming down on IndustriALL affiliate Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers’ Union (TUMMCIWG) at their gold and copper operations.

Over last few weeks in February, RMG, producing more than 10 per cent of Georgia’s total exports, harshly forced some 1,000 members of TUMMCIWG to terminate their union membership as a result of an increased coercion and persecution.

The union busting began immediately after TUMMCIWG reminded the management to fulfill its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement signed on 23 March 2014 after a 40-day strike.

As soon as mining operations were resumed in December 2014, following the approval of the mining operations by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection, management started a full-fledged union busting campaign against union members at RMG Gold and RMG Copper. The site is reported to be one of the oldest in the world, dating back to almost 5000 years ago.

Employer's representatives forced employees to sign pre-printed union resignation letters. These acts of applied pressure are in violation of both national and international laws on human and trade union rights.

Tamazi Dolaberidze, TUMMCIWG’s President, denounced the company in phone calls to several high-ranking company officials and warned them about criminal responsibility under the Georgian Criminal law. However the pressure still continues.

Several truck drivers who had refused to sign the resignation letters at the beginning, have been forced to do so, as management stopped transportation of the ore by leaving workers without work and pay during the forced idle time.

IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina wrote to the management of RMG urging to stop violations of law and to prevent further union busting. IndustriALL also demanded RMG to fulfill its obligations according to the agreement signed in March 2014.