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Labor and Health Minister: Recent developments in Tkibuli mine are due to labor dispute

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, February 26
The Minister of Labor, health and Social welfare, Davit Sergeenko, stated that the recent development in Tkibuli, where the miners have been on strike nearly for two weeks, is a labor dispute.

The Minister gave this explanation after the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, asked Sergeenko and the Finance Minister to provide him with the latest information about the issue.

The Minister also responded to the recommendations of the Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, who suggested the creation of a Trilateral Commission, which would stabilize the situation in Tkibuli.

Sergeenko explained that the function of the Trilateral Commission is not to arbitrate discussions about labor disputes but to make political and strategic decisions.

“The position of the Public Defender is very important of course, but I have asked him many times to look deeper into the details,” said the Minister.

According to Sergeenko, he expects that in the near future the dispute will be resolved and it will be possible to regulate the key issues.

Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri stated that the benefits, which the miners had until the abolishment of the High Mountainous status of Tkibuli, will be restored until the January 1.

“We had prepared a draft, which implies that the people in Tkibuli, particularly the miners will be provided with tax benefits before the January 2016,” Khaduri said at the governmental session.

According to Khaduri, the draft will be presented to Parliament in the near future, and after its approval the miners will enjoy all the tax benefits they had before.

The miners in Tkibuli have gone on strike and are demanding a pay rise and an improvement in their working conditions. The two coal mines they work in are operated by the Saknakhshirimining company, which refuses to increase their salaries, saying that they are unable to raises wages as the demand on coal and its price have fallen.

The company called on the miners to stop their strike. However, the workers say they will not go back to work until their demands have been met.