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Georgian Social Workers Go on Strike

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, March 26
Around 210 social workers went on strike in Georgia. They have 22 demands, saying 5 of them should be satisfied immediately.

The workers gathered at the Governmental Administration on March 24, claiming the protests will not stop until their demands are met.

Social workers went on strike from almost every region of Georgia, including Telavi, Batumi, and Kutaisi.

The protesters claim they have been speaking about the serious problems in the system for more than a month, which did not bring any changes, therefore, they decided to take to radical measures.

The workers say their labor conditions are not normal, adding they have no transport to immediately respond to some cases and they do not have enough number of workers, which hinders timely and efficient response to all existing cases.

Social workers started a collective dispute against the Social Service Agency on 8 February.

However, on March 21, they said that the mediation did not bring any outcomes and the Ministry refused to fulfill their requirements, including introducing regulatory schedule and allocating financial resources for transportation of workers.

The same day they submitted a statement to the ministry about the strike, saying from March 25 they refuse to fulfill their duties.

In addition, they said that elderly people, children, and disabled persons would still get the services from the social workers, as an exception.

Non-governmental organizations: Georgian Association for Human Rights (PHR), Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Georgian Trade Unions Union (GTUC), Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Georgian Association of Social Workers (GASW) and Solidarity Network Independent Trade Union – support the social workers.

Moreover, Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) released a supportive statement to the social workers, saying the recent developments indicate the existence of serious systematic problems.

“In addition, labor conditions for professionals working in the social protection system are especially alarming. We recognize that the social protection system is critical to the functioning of the state, thus the state should provide social workers with decent and safe working conditions," the organization stressed.