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Protesting work conditions

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 10
A letter on Facebook with more than 5,000 shares by former employees of the supermarket network FRESCO once again revealed the problems of Georgia’s labour code.

In the letter, the former employees claim they worked under conditions amounting to “modern slavery” with “inhumane treatment” and listed violations they faced in the facility.

The list includes a 12-hour working day, prohibition of the use of mobile phones during hour breaks, less than 400 GEL monthly salaries, fines for minor mistakes, cuts of the lowest salaries, not paying for overtime work, as well as the threat that the organization would make negative notes on CVs if employees quit their jobs.

The Ministry of Health and Labor said they would check the conditions in the supermarkets in the wake of the large-scaled social outcry over the issue.

The management of FRESCO told Liberali online media that “nothing different from other similar facilities take place in their supermarkets” and that they have even “higher salaries and better working conditions” than other, similar organizations.

They said the people who wrote the letter were dismissed as they failed to fulfill their obligations appropriately.

However, the management couldn’t name which of the statements mentioned in the letter was not true.

The FERSCO management is right when they claim that nothing different happens there, as the majority of employers in Georgia violate the labour rights of their employees and obliged people work for minimal salaries with long working hours.

This indicates the failure of country’s labor code which does not protect the employees’ labor rights.

The ministry is very likely to check the organization. However, there is no genuine mechanism or agency in the country which would control how labor rights are protected and regulate such violations.

The Georgia-EU visa liberalization is based on Georgia’s success in different directions of developing democracy, but such issues might overshadow the country's achievements.

Georgia’s success in visa-liberalization was based on country’s commitment to democratic values including essential demands for the population to protect their labor rights.

It would ultimately be the Government’s failure if Georgia's visa liberalization is suspended, if it does not provide worthy working conditions for its population.