ITF watchful over Georgia rail agreement

The ITF welcomed an agreement reached on 3 December between the Georgian Railway Workers' New Trade Union (GRWNTU) and JSC Georgian Railway but warned it would be keeping an eye on the situation because the company had disregarded previous agreements.

The GRWNTU went on strike on 26 November after the company had failed to fulfil its obligations in relation to pay, a new salary system and overtime, as set out in an agreement reached the previous November, following a strike. The union faced aggression from the management and the Georgian authorities as it sought meaningful social dialogue and felt it had no choice but to take further industrial action. The national strike involved more than 70 per cent of railway employees across Georgia. 

GRWNTU president Vitali Giorgadze said: “The agreement is a significant achievement for us. It won most of its demands but not all of them. The issue of overtime has been put on hold until the constitutional court rules on the appeal by the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation.

“An important outcome is that a special commission will be formed by management and union representatives, based on parity, which will monitor and prevent the kind of pressure and intimidation we have experienced over the last days. It will also oversee the enforcement of the collective bargaining agreement.”

In a letter of solidarity to the GRWNTU on 28 November, the ITF had expressed full support for the union and its lawful demands for meaningful social dialogue, respect of agreements and better working conditions for its members. ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata today commented that the ITF would be closely watching developments to ensure that the agreement put an end to the authorities’ aggression and was fulfilled by the management. 

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