The Georgia Fair Labor Platform expresses its solidarity and support to the striking stage workers at the Zakaria Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater in Tbilisi.
Yesterday, 37 employees of the Theater began their strike, demanding that their salaries be increased by 100%. The striking employees say their current salaries top out at 600 GEL, a meager amount considering rising prices, inflation and a workload that they say is irreversibly increasing. (By comparison, a respected international organization recently estimated Georgia’s current living wage to be 1,706.50 GEL per month)
The strike followed a legally mandated mediation period overseen by the Ministry of Labor, which ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Disturbingly, several employees were terminated shortly after the strike was announced, according to the Trade Union of Science, Education and Culture Workers. Since the strike came after the legally mandated mediation period ended unsuccessfully, workers were fully within their rights to strike. Dismissing employees for exercising their constitutional right to strike is an alarming escalation of the situation.
Against this background, we call upon:
- The Ministry of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Protection of Georgia to carefully monitor the process and use all levers at its disposal, so that a decision is quickly made to meet the legitimate demands of theater employees;
- The administration of the Zakaria Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theater to (1) immediately fulfill workers’ demands by increasing their salaries and to (2) comply with the law by reinstating the illegally fired employees.