The Georgian Manganese, a company that together with its affiliates and subsidiaries runs the mining sector in the western Georgian town of Chiatura, announced today it has reached an agreement with a part of some 3,000 workers, on strike since April 23 and demanding a pay rise of 50%.
As per the deal, employees of one of the company subsidiaries are set to receive a GEL 250 (USD 72) monthly salary increase and an annual holiday bonus in the same amount. The new terms will be signed into contracts on April 26 and enter into force on May 1, with workers resuming their duties tomorrow, according to the company.
Georgian Manganese said this, along with a 5.2% increase in the tariff rate, is the “maximum” it can offer, and the terms stand for the rest of the miners which continue the strike.
It is currently unclear how many of the workers have agreed to the proposed terms.
Meanwhile, the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation, a labor union, has said the offered GEL 250 pay rise is “not acceptable” as it constitutes on average a 25% salary increase, falling short of the workers’ demand for 50%.
The miners, themselves, cite increasing consumer prices, heavy working conditions, and health issues as their key concerns. “We enter into hell,” a local miner told Formula TV yesterday, describing his experience in working the Chiatura mines.
“I have worked for 20 years already, and I have fought this company [Georgian Manganese] for 20 years, not alone, but together with people, but nothing has been solved during these 20 years,” he added.
In remarks with the Georgian media, some of the workers have also highlighted the need for improved health insurance terms, a demand that apparently remains unaddressed in the Georgian Manganese statements so far.