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Workers’ rights in Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 4
Last week an International Workers' Day was marked. For the occasion, Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili released a special statement where he drew attention to the major problems in terms of realization and protection of employees' rights in the country, which need to be timely addressed.

Gaps in labor legislation were also discussed in the Public Defender's report of 2015.

In particular, the Labour Code does not define the maximum quantity of daily working hours or the quantity of working days per week; there is no set maximum allowable limit of overtime working hours; the list of spheres that require a specific weekly working time of 48 hour, is very wide; labour legislation does not define the minimum remuneration for labor; the Labor Code of Georgia does not provide for the full list of grounds for dismissal of employees that leaves a wide field of assessment for the employer, while it is not predictable and clear for the employee as to what may become a basis for the termination of labor relations, etc.

“The situation in terms of labor security is worrying in the country. According to information provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 82 people were injured and 42 killed in the workplace in 2015. Investigations were launched into 108 criminal cases, out of which 42 investigations were ultimately suspended. Criminal prosecution was initiated only in 16 cases, out of which 10 cases went to court,” the Ombudsman said, and concluded that the data shows that the response to similar criminal cases is not an effective mechanism for the protection of the workers' rights.

Nanuashvili said that the existing situation necessitates the establishment of a labor inspection mechanism for supervising labour conditions and safety, which will be authorized to use sanctions in case of any violations of the law.

“Despite a number of tragic incidents, which in most cases were caused by the violation of safety rules, the state has an inert approach to this issue, which makes it clear that the Government is still not sufficiently aware of the vital importance of labour safety,” Nanuashvili said.

The protection of labor rights is problematic in public service as well. In some cases, contests and certification exams are only of a formal nature and relevant agencies make completely unfounded decisions. In some cases, the dismissal of officials was illegal and unjustified, Nanuashvili added.

Georgia faces serious problems in terms of protecting workers’ rights. This is no active body that will check the qualifications of workers, especially those in construction. This issue directly affects people’s lives.