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Port Workers in Batumi End Strike with Key Demands Met

Workers of Batumi International Container Terminal, operating one of the terminals in the Batumi Port, have ended their strike after striking an agreement with the company management, with key demands met.

All 80 laborers of the company turned to industrial action on December 27, demanding from the management to improve work conditions – regulate erratic shifts, increase remuneration, fairly count vacation days, and reimburse medical bills in line with the law.

The striking workers struck a deal with the company later in the same day and returned to work, head of the Batumi Seaport Trade Unions, Amiran Mikeladze told Civil.ge.

According to Mikeladze, the firm agreed to a 15% raise from January onwards in the laborers’ monthly salary from the current average pay of GEL 1,000 – 1,300 (USD 325 – 423). This means the average salary of the workers will be GEL 1,150 – 1,495 (USD 375 – 454).

Besides, the head of the labor union said the firm agreed to hand out one-time bonus payments of 50% of the worker’s salaries, which would be GEL 500 – 650 (USD 162 – USD 211) on average.

The firm is also willing to better regulate the night shifts and allow workers 24 working days off per year as mandated by law instead of the 24 calendar days of vacation it used to, Mikeladze stressed.

He added that these were the key demands the sides already agreed to, while they continue to hash over other minor details.

Before the laborers had clinched the deal with the management, Avtandil Andguladze, one of the striking workers, laid out their complaints with the media. He told Mautskebeli TV on December 27 that the laborers at the terminal are understaffed and overworked. “Workload grew, while the number of people [employed] decreased,” he noted.

Andguladze also pointed at the increased consumer prices in the country, noting that while the laborers receive a 4% annual raise, the amount is not enough when compared to soaring prices. Annual inflation hit 12.5% in November, while the prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages jumped by 17% year-over-year.

He argued that the management organized the laborers’ shifts poorly. Andguladze said workers used to have an outlined schedule earlier, but now the management just calls them and informs them they will have to come in for work “without asking if you have time or not.”

In a separate interview, Andguladze also alleged that the company used to arbitrarily change the workers’ designated roles, making them take up tasks they were not supposed to perform.

Batumi International Container Terminal in total employs 120 people, of which 80 are laborers, according to the Batumi Seaport Trade Unions.

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