About 2,500 miners in the western Georgian town of Chiatura, who went on strike on May 16, went back to work today after reaching an agreement over pay rise and the improvement of working conditions with their employer – the Georgian Manganese Holding.
Miners were demanding 50% pay-raise, improved insurance package and banning the transportation of polluting manganese ore through the town.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze delegated the Minister of Economy, Natia Turnava, Health Minister Davit Sergeenko and Education Minister Mikheil Batiashvili to Chiatura, to mediate between the strikers and the company on May 27 .
Following a two-hour meeting, the miners and the Georgian Manganese Holding reached an agreement, according to which miners’ salaries will gradually increase by 25% starting July 1, and further by 10% within one year (but no later than July 2020).
According to the Georgian Manganese, average gross monthly salary of company employees is GEL 1,002 (USD 360).
Commenting on the issue, Economy Minister Natia Turnava said after the meeting that “the both sides showed huge responsibility, common sense and constructiveness” that has allowed “reaching of a consensus.”
“The part of the agreement involving labor safety, re-equipment, opening emergency medical aid stations on the ground, ecological problem solution is very important for us and it was our categorical demand towards the company to meet all these demands and we guarantee that this agreement will be fulfilled,” she said.
Health Minister Davit Sergeenko also commented on the matter, saying that miners’ demands were “fair.”
The Georgian Manganese has a total of 3,214 employees and has been engaged in manganese ore mining since 2007. Since 2017, it has been run by a state-appointed manager.