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Genuine social dialogue needed for a Just Transition in Georgia

6 October, 2022On 1 October, IndustriALL held a National Round Table on a Just Transition to renewable energy in Tbilisi, Georgia, attended by representatives of three Georgian affiliates, leaders of major energy companies and the government.

Temur Suramelashvili, deputy chairman of the Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia, spoke about the risks of energy transition. In Tkibuli, about one thousand people work in the mines and nearly 3,500 are employed in the service infrastructure. If the Georgian government complies with the Paris Agreement on CO2 emissions and closes the mines, this will affect between 18-20,000 people, including workers’ families.

“We need to look closer at how the energy transition impacts industrial sectors and companies. We need to understand which companies and professions will be impacted by the transition and which new ones will appear. There needs to be a plan because every number on paper represents a family. Workers need concrete Just Transition plans to face the new challenges,”

said Diana Junquera Curiel, IndustriALL director for energy and Just Transition.

Ensuring social protection and decent jobs is a priority for the unions to protect workers’ rights.

The Ministry of Economy is actively involved in strategic planning. The representative at the meeting confirmed the importance of social dialogue and invited all interested parties to participate in discussions, including through the Social Interaction Program.

Although the meeting was characterized by openness and a willingness to discuss among employers and government representatives, the absence of employer associations in the country hampers effective social dialogue, both at the sectoral and national level.

“Since there are no employers’ organizations, there are neither sectoral agreements nor a general agreement setting the framework and rules for the relationship of the social partners. Unions need a reliable counterpart, willing to create constructive platforms to negotiate the future of the industry in Georgia,”

said IndustriALL regional secretary Vadim Borisov.

Cristina Hanson and Jesper Nielsen, from 3F union in Denmark shared their experience on how a green transition becomes Just Transition. Building on the Danish tradition for public-private partnerships, the Danish government has formed 14 climate partnerships representing the different sectors in the Danish economy.

Ambros Arias from the Spanish affiliated to IndsutriALL, UGT FICA,  spoke about the experience of closing coal mines and thermal power plants, which provided almost ten per cent of Spain's energy balance. Spanish trade unions are aiming to double the number of jobs as a result of transition to green energy.

The event was part of a joint project between IndustriALL and 3F, Denmark’s largest union.