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Energy workers in Georgia campaign for respect and decent salaries

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9 April, 2019IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers, has launched a campaign for respect and better working conditions for its members at the country's largest power generator and distributor Energo Pro Georgia.

Union members agreed upon the campaign at a workshop organized by IndustriALL in Telavi on 6-7 April 2019.

Local management of Czech-owned Energo Pro Georgia continually refuses the union’s request for constructive social dialogue and avoids meetings with trade union leaders. As a result, a number of grievances, such as demands for wage increases, overtime payments and representation of the trade union at the Commission of Labour Protection, remain unresolved.

Workers complain about the poor salaries at Energo Pro Georgia, which are much lower than other companies operating in the sector in Georgia, including the state-owned electricity company and other multinationals from Russia and Turkey.

Workers are demanding a substantial wage increase of around US$100-120 a month, as their existing salaries are not enough to live on. The company does not conduct an annual indexation of wages, which results in loss of purchasing power due to inflation. Workers feel deeply humiliated.

Amiran Zenaishvili, president of the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers, stated,

 “Investment in Georgia shouldn’t be dependent on the low salaries of workers in our country. Our campaign is not only a struggle for higher wages, it is a struggle for the dignity of Georgian workers, who deserve much more respect.”

Kemal Özkan, the IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary, said:

 “We support the fair demands of workers and will use the available international instruments to strengthen the campaign of our affiliate, the Georgian Trade Union of Energy Workers”.