Workers in the coal mines in Tkibuli were on strike in February. (Tkibuli municipality/Facebook.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Trade Unions warns that workers in the coal mines in Tkibuli may go on strike again. Workers were on strike for two weeks in February, but an agreement was reached a few weeks ago.

The trade union says the the mining company Sakhnakhshiri GIG is distributing new individual work contracts, forcing the employees to sign. Now the trade union is preparing a lawsuit to demand increased salaries to reflect the inflation over the last four years.

The problem is that a new work contracts requires workers to confirm that they do not have financial liabilities toward their employer and promise to not complain about this in the future.

As soon as the contract comes into force, every other agreement, contract and lawful documents will be annulled and the new contract will be the only legal agreement between the employer and employee.

The trade union, however will base its lawsuit on an agreement signed between the union and the company in February 2011. That agreement said that the company is obliged to increase the salaries in accordance with the inflation.

The new contract offers the employer the possibility to fire an employee at any time.

GIG is forcing employees to sign the new contracts, otherwise they would lose their jobs. Some workers have already signed. On March 23, the trade union and employees met with the company management and agreed that the process of signing contracts would be temporarily halted.

The parties are now working to change the text of the contracts.

Employees in the Tkibuli coal mines went on strike after Tkibuli was removed from a list of communities designated ‘mountain settlements’, which offers certain tax advantages. Workers also said their salaries should be adjusted to compensate for a drastic reduction in the value of the national currency, lari.

An agreement was reached on February 29, when GIG promised to increase salaries by 7 percent immediately and a further 3 percent in the beginning of April. https://dfwatch.net/solution-reached-in-tkibuli-miners-strike-40568