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GWP Refuses Pay Raise to Striking Workers

The workers of Georgian Water and Power (GWP), the leading water supply company in Georgia, strike since January 25. Camped outside the company premises, they demand their labor contracts to be revised to provide higher and fairer salaries, paid holidays, and health insurance.

The strike was initiated by one part of the GWP workers, mostly operators of heavy repair vehicles from the GWP’s transport division. In a short phone message (SMS) sent to the strikers, the GWP administration reportedly threatened the termination of their contracts, due to unfulfilled contractual obligations during the strike.

As one of the workers told TV Pirveli, the GWP administration refuses to meet the demands of the protesters, telling them that the “salaries will remain unchanged,” and saying that those that are unhappy, “could go home.”

On January 28, the GWP administration told Civil.ge that as of today, “the contracted drivers” are ready to resume work, while “a small group,” which the GWP accuses of “aggressive, violent and illegal activities,” will be subject to “appropriate legal actions.”

The GWP administration emphasized that in spite of the workers’ attempts, the company’s operations were unhindered and assured Tbilisi residents of uninterrupted water supply.

The trade union representative Akaki Gvalia, approached by Civil.ge, confirmed some of the strikers were satisfied by a conversation with the management, while others continue are intent on continuing their strike. Media reports suggest that the GWP agreed to equalize salaries among workers, but not to raise them overall, and to provide minimal working conditions in the long run. However, some workers, who preferred to remain anonymous for the fear of being punished, say the company conditioned these improvements on firing 13 workers who were active articulating strikers’ demands with the media.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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