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Labour code and its ‘benefits’

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, October 6
The current government of Georgia is very proud of the amendments it has made to the labour code which, according to them, provides the protection of employees’ rights.

It is a well-known fact that one of major problems of Georgia is unemployment.

Neither the previous nor current state governments managed to settle the problem as both of them failed to create genuine enterprises in the country.

The lack of jobs creates problems for those who are in employed, as many employers, especially Georgian ones, believe that if they provide jobs their employees should be grateful.

If an employee protests his working conditions, the employer typically fires him. Starting a legal process against the employer is also complicated. Due to legal costs, employees often avoid the procedures; sometimes they do not even know about their own rights.

Based on a recent survey revealed by the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International Georgia (TI), a great majority out of nearly 2,000 questioned people have never received compensation for extra working hours since 2013.

It should also be stated that the compensation money is specified in agreements between the employer and employee.

However, in private talks, employees complain that employers set the amounts, and in major cases the price is ridiculous; it is even more “ridiculous” that the employers refrain from then paying the money.

There are no powerful professional unions in the country that would somehow protect the rights of employees effectively, as the majority of employees in Georgia still work on minimal salaries.

Those companies which generate significant amounts of money in the spring-summer period also force their employees to ask for unpaid vacations in the winter months to save money.

As unpaid time off is prohibited through the labour code, they demand that their employees specifically ask for them; if they refuse the employers will then threaten them with dismissal.

The employees refrain from speaking about the violations and share their worries with journalists only in private talks, as they are understandably afraid of losing jobs.

It can be said that the changed labour code failed to provide effective protection of employees’ rights and still benefits the interests of employers as there is no vital mechanism on how to make sure that the labour code principles are met by employers.