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Czech energy company denies rights to Georgian workers

25 July, 2019Energo-Pro Georgia, a Czech-owned hydropower company, continues to refuse to address the demands of its workers by meeting with the IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers.

The Georgian union launched a campaign for dignity and respect at work, union recognition, and negotiated wages that meet living costs and are indexed to inflation. However, the company has refused to meet with the union or address any of the workers’ demands.

The union pickets outside the company office in April

The union president, Amiran Zenaishvili, said:

"After the union took protest action in April, we sent a letter to the responsible ministry, listing our grievances on low wages, health and safety and union-busting.

"We asked the government to mediate in the dispute. The government assigned a mediator who met with the union and the employer. We are now waiting for a response.

"In the meantime, the company's anti-union campaign continues, and there has been open conflict since April."

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches wrote to the CEO of the company, Jaromir Tesar, saying:

“IndustriALL Global Union calls on Energo-Pro to intervene immediately at Energo-Pro Georgia to guarantee that the local management acts in full accord with national labour law and international core labour standards, and, in consequence, agrees on engaging in a constructive social dialogue with the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers on the basis of full respect of the fundamental rights of workers.”

IndustriALL’s Czech affiliate OS KOVO – which has members at the Czech engineering plant that produces equipment – wrote to the Energo-Pro subsidiary that employs them, Litostroj Engineering. The company responded by saying they were not in a position to influence local management in Georgia.

Prague-headquartered Energo-Pro is a hydropower multinational, employing 9,000 workers in five countries through a number of subsidiaries. The company generates power at plants in Czechia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Turkey, and has engineering sites that develop technological equipment in Czechia and Slovenia.

The Georgian operation is the company’s biggest, with 6,180 workers at 15 hydro and one gas power plant. The company pays significantly less than industry standard, including the state-owned electricity company and other multinationals from Russia and Turkey.