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Kakha Kaladze (left) talking to the strikers, June 5, 2018. Photo: screengran from Ertoba 2013 Facebook page

Metro Strike Continues as Tbilisi Mayor, Train Drivers Fail to Agree

Tbilisi metro is still closed as train drivers, who went on a strike on June 3 demanding salary increases, failed to negotiate a deal with Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze.

“I hope our positions will converge soon and the metro will reopen,” Kaladze said, following his late-night meeting with metro train drivers at Gldani depot.

Kaladze also noted that he listened to the strikers’ concerns, but added that the Tbilisi Transport Company, the capital’s transport authority, as well as the Tbilisi City Hall, did not have enough financial resources to meet their demands.

Archil Labadze one of the representatives of the Ertoba 2013, a professional union of metro train drivers that leads the strike, said after the meeting that protesters received no specific promises from the Mayor, meaning that the strike would continue.

Earlier, Labadze also noted that the Tbilisi Transport Company allegedly planned to dismiss some of the drivers, who went on strike despite the court ruling that restricted their right to do so in working hours.

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria who went to the protesters today said her office would stand ready to protect their interests, if they were threatened with dismissal. “The right to go on strike is protected and no legal trick should be used to hinder the employees from exercising this right,” she stressed.

Tbilisi Metro that has been operating in the Georgian capital since 1966, has two lines and 23 stations and serves approximately 600 thousand passengers daily, from 6 am till midnight. Metro drivers strike caused heavy traffic all across the city.

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