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15th day on hunger strike, railway workers demand changes

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 31
Fourteen workers of the Georgian Railway continue their hunger strike in front of the Georgian Railway headquarters with a demand for changes to their working conditions.

They claim that the Georgian Railway company’s administration misled them when signing their new contracts, which, as they say, read that their working place was changed and the railway administration would not cover their living expenses.

The railway workers say they had not been informed over the issue beforehand and became aware of the change only after signing the new contracts.

The Professional Union and the Auditorium 115 student movement expressed their support to the workers on August 29.

The railway workers, who now live and work in the eastern Kakheti region, address the government to show interest in their issue and become involved with the negotiations between the workers and the railway administration.

The Georgian Railway company claims that the workers had been informed over the new working conditions in Tbilisi and were offered special accommodation area as well as the covering of their transporting fees.

The railway administration showed the living carriage they had been offered to the media.

The protesting workers say the administration did this only for the media and deny such an offer from the administration.

Georgian Railway press representative, Dachi Tsaguria, says that the process was “artificially stirred” by the head of the Professional Union, Irakli Petriashvili, someone who has stood with the workers from the very first days of the protest.

Tsaguria says Petriashvili encouraged the confrontation to somehow lengthen his leadership in the Union and continue “misspending the Union’s money.”

According to Petriashvili, the allegations are groundless and the workers were misled by the railway leadership, as well as by Tsaguria himself.