TBILISI, DFWatch — New groups of workers have joined the miners on strike in Chiatura, and activists from Tbilisi have arrived to support them.
All mines in Chiatura are still closed down as the miners’ strike continues for a fourth day. October 16 thousands of workers broke into Georgian Manganese’s administrative building, the company that owns the plants and mines in the small town in western Georgia.
There have since been several attempts at negotiations, all unsuccessful. Workers demand better conditions and increased salaries, saying it is impossible to feed their family with the current salary.
October 17 the company’s administration offered to increase awards, but not the salary. Then they suggested increasing salaries by ten percent. But the miners demand a 100 percent pay rise, and negotiations have so far not led to agreement.
Their list of demands contains 15 points, which details how they want their conditions improved. If those conditions aren’t fulfilled workers plan to paralyze the town and go on a hunger strike.
About 3800 workers are on strike by now. Yesterday employees of a medical center of Chiatura joined the protest. They protest recent firings and low salary, despite difficult working schedule.
A group of students from youth organization Laboratoria 1918 also arrived in western Georgia to support the workers.
Different groups of Georgian Trade Unions joined the miners’ rally today. They say if the workers start a hunger strike, they will join as a sign of solidarity until demands are met.