TBILISI, DFWatch–Around 800 rail workers in Khashuri in central Georgia went on strike Wednesday,demanding increased salaries and to restore benefits which they used to have years ago.

There are no staff available on the railway section between Zestaponi further west and Gori closer to Tbilisi, but Georgian Railway Ltd assures travelers that the lack of staff in the area will have no consequences for neither passengers nor cargo.

The striking workers say they will make exceptions for emergency situations, but will not be responsible for negative results of their strike.

Zaza Chkoidze, head of the Khashuri Rail Division, said the regional office won’t be able to meet the striking workers until Friday and called on them to get back to work.

Georgian Railway representatives met them Thursday morning for one hour without result.

They offered a pay rise of USD 30. But workers demand it increased from USD 240 to USD 360 and warn if their demands aren’t met, they will paralyze rail traffic through Georgia by blocking the central line.

The parties agreed to set up a working group which will study the problems of employees and ways to improve their situation.