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Georgian dockers win pay rise
13 November 2012
Georgian dockers have called off a successful strike at the port of Poti after their actions won a 30 per cent pay rise and a promise by the new port director to talk over all their concerns.
The 1200 workers, who are in the process of establishing the Poti Port Union, brought the port to a standstill when they began an indefinite strike on 1 November. They were calling for higher wages and an improvement in their working conditions at the port which has, since April 2011, been owned by global network terminal (GNT) operator AMPT.
On 2 November, representatives from the ITF-affiliated Georgian Seafarers’ Union (GSU) took part in a protest in solidarity with the port workers. They and a delegation from the Batumi Sea Port and the Navigation Institute also joined the striking workers in Poti. GSU chairman Anatoly Chidjavadze was among the dockers’ key supporters.
ITF inspector Merab Chijavadze explained: “Employees in mechanisation, the navy and other terminal positions, gathered at the entrance to the port and announced they would not come to work for as long as the administration did not meet their demands for higher wages or better working conditions.”
The ETF, ITF and the Danish 3F union all assisted the Georgian Trade Union Confederation during the strike. Eduardo Chagas, ETF general secretary, told them: “We fully support your struggle and we believe that the demands put forward by workers are legitimate and in line with the main principles in ILO fundamental conventions.”
Representatives from the GSU and the new dockers organisation have been invited to attend an ITF Maersk network meeting later this month. There they will have the opportunity to share their experiences of APM’s Georgia operation with the wider world of ITF affiliates organising in Maersk companies.
Visit the ITF’s GNT website
for more information on acceptable standards in GNT ports around the world.
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