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Georgian fertilizer factory workers escalate dispute

22 September, 2016IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliate in Georgia has begun labour dispute proceedings with fertilizer producer Azot, as the company’s management continues to avoid negotiating with trade union representatives.

IndustriALL affiliate the Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG) has also called on the Ministry of Labour to provide a mediator to resolve the dispute.
Some 2,000 workers at the factory have been receiving less than half of their salary since Azot ceased operations on 27 July.
On 15 September more than 150 trade unionists braved the threat of dismissal and demonstrated outside the offices of Azot demanding that the company resume production.
Workers demanded that the company:
•  Resume operations
•  Pay salaries at the 100 per cent rate as required by the Labour Code in case of downtime which is the fault of the employer
•  Include bonuses in salaries, as was done previously
•  Contact banks to defer credits
•  Raise salaries
Following the 15 September protest, factory owner, Roman Pipia, announced that the administration would receive natural gas by 19 or 20 September and the plant would be re-launched. He also said that management was already working on strengthening production capacities. Allegedly this would allow for a doubling in salaries in two years. However, despite these promises the factory is still standing idle.
After the meeting Pipia spoke to also discussed the situation with Tamaz Dolaberidze from the TUMMCIWG and assured him he would contact banks for a deferred monthly payment loans until the re-launch.
TUMMCIWG expressed hope that the administration would return to negotiations and problems would be resolved in a constructive manner.