15 May, 2017Four workers lost their lives on 9 May, at the Tkibuli Elizbar Mindeli mine in Georgia while repairing a lift. IndustriALL affiliate Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG), states that it is the worst industrial accident since 2010 and insists on the creation of an effective system of state labour inspections.
A freight elevator fell into the pit while repairs were carried out. Mechanics on the roof of the elevator fell 400 metres. The bodies of the four victims were found by rescuers on 10 May. Two of the who lost their lives were members of TUMMCIWG, including Aleko Cheishvili, a founder and a member of the TUMMCIWG Tkibuli miners’ committee.
TUMMCIWG says that on the basis of preliminary information safety standards were violated during the repair works' preparation. A commission investigating the tragedy will be created and will include union safety inspectors.
24 people have been killed in Tkibuli mines since 2010, and an additional 19 have received serious injuries.
Tamaz Dolaberidze, President of the TUMMCIWG said:
“All those who have been blocking the establishment of labour inspection and the ratification of ILO Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mines are responsible for this accident.”
Labour inspection is a sort of a centre, monitoring accidents in the workplace. It collects statistics, but does not conduct inspections and has no actual work in the field of labour protection at the enterprises.
In September 2015, the IndustriALL's leadership held a press conference in Tbilisi, where it raised this issue and emphasized the necessity of rebuilding the system of state labour inspection in Georgia with all their functions.
IndustriALL Global Union's General Secretary Valter Sanches writes in his letter to the President of Georgia:
“Once again IndustriALL Global Union urges the government of Georgia to ratify ILO Convention 176 on Health and Safety in Mines, as well as ILO Convention 81 on Labour Inspection. It is essential to set up a proper enforcement mechanism of labour legislation in the country. In contrast to the nominal structure that operates now, the primary task of the Labour Inspection should be to prevent accidents rather than simply keep statistics of accidents.”