Tbilisi metro has resumed working after a three-day strike of its employees, who were demanding a 45% increase in salaries and improved labor conditions.
Tbilisi Metro Reopens after the 3 Day Strike
By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, June 7
After several unsuccessful meetings between the workers and the Mayor’s Office, another meeting was held on June 5, and the sides reached consensus.
It was agreed that the salaries of metro employees will be gradually increased from January 1, 2019, however, the workers do not know how much their salaries will increased.
Kaladze thanked the workers for understanding and the population of Tbilisi for their patience.
“We will discuss the issue of salaries starting 2019 and make sure that the working conditions of the workers are improved,” the Mayor added and announced that metro has reopened.
The protesters said they have not made any written agreement with the Mayor, adding they trust Kaladze’s word and agree to work as usual.
“At least the minimum part of our requirements will be fulfilled as the mayor promised. He took all the responsibility on himself,” trade union Unity 2013 Chair, Rati Kapanadze stated after the meeting.
Metro workers went on strike on June 3 afternoon, which paralyzed the transport system in the capital for the following days. In order to defuse the situation, the City Hall released a statement saying the buses were free and several new routes had been appointed until the metro is open again.
However, the passengers said there were queues at bus stops, adding the suspension of metro created a lot of problems to them.
In the morning of June 5, Vice-Mayor of Tbilisi Irakli Khmaladze stated that City Hall cannot afford to increase the salaries of Tbilisi Metro employees. He claimed there is not enough money in the budget of the capital, therefore, the salaries of the metro workers cannot be increased.
However, Khmaladze noted the City Hall could reconsider this issue in early 2019, which was followed by a statement of the metro drivers, saying if they received guarantees about it, they would resume working and stop protests.
Metro is the fastest and the most commonly used public transport in Tbilisi, serving around 400 thousand passengers every day.