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Labour code amendments to be implemented in October

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, October 6
European Trade Union Confederation Secretary Josef Niemiec stated during the Congress of Georgia’s professional trade unions held some days ago that Georgia may lose its GSP+ trading privileges with the European Union. He said that this system of preferences was granted on the basis of respect for fundamental human rights principles, but the existing labour code in Georgia violates these. The EU suspended Belarus’ GSP+ status for a similar reason.

Different institutions such as the EU, US State Department and International Labour Organisation have made different objections to the Georgian labour code. It does not comply with ILO standards and contradicts EU standards as well as the standards of the European social charter ratified by the Georgian Parliament in July 2009. Its major shortcomings are in the areas of working hours, job termination grounds, collective negotiations of terms and so on.

The Georgian Parliament has promised the Georgian trade unions that it will amend the labour code in October. However while some MPs support the amendments, others consider them a return to the socialist system.

Some analysts suggest that certain members of the Georgian leadership understand liberalisation in a very specific way. Demur Giorkhelidze suggests that having a liberal economic system does not mean ignoring the human rights of the workers. Although Georgia does not gain much from having GSP+ status it has symbolic significance and losing it would be a step backward.