Workers at the Rustavi Azot fertilizer plant in Georgia are being persecuted and forced to leave the union.
The primary organization of IndustriALL affiliate the Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG) has lost more than 1,000 members since February 2017, and the pressure on workers intensifies.
On 25 October, youth and trade union activists held meetings at the entrance to the enterprise with the workers, explaining their constitutional rights and the reasons for the company’s anti-union campaign. The workers agreed that the union is vital at Rustavi Azot.
TUMMCIWG has been trying to establish a format of negotiations with the administration of the company since March 2017, but has failed. Foremen are put under pressure from company management to force workers to leave the trade union. Membership decreased from 1,450 to 630 between February and April 2017. A further 300 workers left the union between June and September, and 100 workers in October.
The union busting is a reaction to the protests against the illegal dismissals of 350 people at the beginning of 2017, and signing new contracts with the remaining workers which seriously undermine their working conditions.
The trade union has repeatedly asked the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia for help. The Ministry was unable to fulfill its commitment and to take the parties to the negotiating table.
TUMMCIWG’s chairman, Tamaz Dolaberidze, stated:
“One particular company has established in Georgia its own legal order, and the government looks the other way. We did our best to maintain a constructive relationship with management, and now the union will inform the world community about all of the above”.
According to Dolaberidze, the International Labour Organization, the European Union, the US State Department, and the Trade Union International Confederation will receive the information in the near future. The union calls on IndustriALL affiliates to provide solidarity support and to send a photo holding the attached sign by e-mail to [email protected].
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL General Secretary, wrote in his letter to the President of Georgia:
“IndustriALL Global Union condemns in the strongest terms the attacks on the trade union and urges you to intervene immediately to resolve this untenable situation”.