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Georgian glass factory workers on strike

5 February, 2016Workers at the Ksani glass container factory went on strike on 5 February, after management continued to neglect union demands to sign a collective agreement and increase wages.

Since September 2015, IndustriALL affiliate Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG) has tried to convince management at the Ksani factory to start negotiations over a collective agreement and salary increase. But the months’ of attempts have not yielded any results.

Ready to go on strike, the union initiated a conciliation procedure required by Georgian law to take place before a strike. Two meetings were held between union and management, with the participation of a mediator from the state.

On 30 November, management agreed to provide feedback by 15 January 2016 on the workers’ and union’s demands:

  • To announce the average per cent of salary increase due as of 1 January 2016. The average salary at the factory is 750 Georgian Lari (US$ 300), and the union has demanded a 30 percent salary increase
  • To come up with a schedule to finalize the draft of the collective bargaining agreement
  • To provide premises for the union

The next meeting was scheduled to take place on 15 January, but the company postponed it until 28 January. When the General Director ignored all pending issues that had been agreed on in November, the union launched an indefinite strike.

The glass container factory in Ksani (JSC MINA) is owned by the Şişecam Group, a Turkish company operating in 13 countries with a workforce of over 20,000 employees and exports to 150 countries.

IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says:

“We support the demands of our Georgian affiliate and urge the company to engage in a result-oriented social dialogue with the union as soon as possible, and to sign a collective agreement to ensure sustainable factory operations.”