Today, Chiatura miners continued their protest for basic labor rights into its 15th day. For the fourth consecutive day, the protest was centered on the Parliament building in Tbilisi.
The miners’ demands include fair pay, regulation of labor safety norms, solving hygiene and food issues – all of which are basic conditions for any responsible, decent work environment. Nevertheless, neither Georgian Manganese nor the state are making any real effort to solve these problems.
Ignoring the miners’ fair and legal demands has led them to adopt more extreme forms of protest: both in Chiatura and in Tbilisi, miners have started hunger strikes and resorted to self-harm, such as sewing their mouths shut. Some are now at risk of serious health damage, and at least one hunger striker has lost consciousness.
There is now a looming possibility of irreversible damage to people’s lives and health. In such circumstances, continued inaction by the state and company is unacceptable and constitutes a reckless disregard for the lives and health of the miners and their family members.
We therefore call once again on –
The Government of Georgia:
- To use all means at its disposal, including negotiations with the company, in order to avoid the impending tragedy;
- To act immediately and effectively so that the company fulfills the obligations stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement with the miners and the legislation of Georgia, to satisfy the fair demands of the Chiatura miners.
The Ministry of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Protection:
- To activate and lead the mediation process;
- To ensure constant medical supervision for the protesting miners in order to avoid complications caused by their hunger strike and self-harm.
Fair Labor Platform signatories:
- Open Society Foundation Georgia (OSGF)
- Tbilisi Metropolitan Independent Trade Union – “Ertoba 2013”
- Union of Social Workers
- Social Justice Center
- Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
- Solidarity Network
- Trade Union of Science, Education and Culture