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Minibus drivers may lose jobs if they continue protest in Tbilisi

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, August 7
Some minibus drivers in Tbilisi, who have gone on a protest strike since August 5, may lose their jobs if they refuse to resume public service since the talks with the Tbilisi Minibus Company.

A statement regarding this issue has been made by the Tbilisi Minibus Company. According to a representative of the company, Natia Mikiashvili, a contractor company had a meeting with the drivers’ representatives.

She added that minibus movement in the city will renew from August 7.

She stressed that an agreement has been achieved and the debts caused by objective reasons, like closing roads in the course of the Olympiad from July 27 to August 1, reduction of number of consumers in the days of flooding in Tbilisi and other similar cases, would be annulled.

Mikiashvili stated that a daily quota for drivers they are obliged to pay to the Mini Bus Company had been reduced. However, the company managed to achieve an agreement with drivers over daily schedules.

“If any of the drivers refuses to get back to work after the talks, we will cancel contracts with them,”said Mikiashvili.

According to her, they overlooked the air conditioner issue and drivers will have an obligation of switching the system on only when heat rises above 26 degrees.

“Many of our customers are unhappy with the service, especially because of a refusal to turn on air conditioners. Every single minibus has a thermometer and the drivers will switch on cooling system, every time temperature outrival agreed degree,” she said.

The protesters demanded a reduction of daily payments they are obligated to pay to the Tbilisi Minibus Company. According to drivers, passenger fare quota, which comprises 55 GEL per day, is too high and they cannot pay it.

They also want their weekend quota to be shortened in comparison to weekday ones. According to protesters, beside the daily payment, the company obligates them to pay for fuel and car repair money from their own pocket.

“All we ask for is normal working conditions. Our fare quota is very high and we cannot meet it,” said protesting bus drivers.

After meeting with their representatives the drivers are waited to make a decision over resuming driving or not.