TBILISI, DFWatch–Some of the employees of Tbilisi’s metro demonstrated at Didube on Tuesday, demanding better working conditions and higher salaries, following a drop in the value of the national currency lari.
Metro workers warn that they may go on strike if their demands are not met. Their demands were set out in a letter sent on Tuesday to the Health Ministry, Tbilisi City Hall and Tbilisi Transport Company.
The main demand is to adjust salaries to compensate for a drop in the value of the national currency, lari, which has been reduced from 1.75 (against one USD) to 2.48 since November 2014. Another demand is to be paid more for night shifts and that salaries should be set according to qualifications.
Rati Kapanadze, a driver and trade union member, told Interpressnews that the average salary in the Tbilisi metro is 1,050 laris per month for drivers. This amount was worth more two years ago and the drivers have great responsibility, he explained. He thinks it is necessary to adjust salaries in line with today’s currency rates.
As is required by law, workers plan to wait 21 days for a response, and then they will go on strike.
Tuesday’s protest did not impact the operation of the capital’s metro system.
Mayor Davit Narmania said Tbilisi City Hall does not have resources to increase salaries, while Tbilisi Transport Company later said workers’ demands are being considered. The statement says every employee is important to them as well as their labor over many years and merits to the capital and its inhabitants.