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Miners Are Still on Strike in Chiatura


Mari Tabidze, Chiatura

Miners continue strike in Chiatura. They request 100% rise in their salaries, improved sanitary conditions, supply of special uniforms and new working instruments.

Coalition Georgian Dream’s member Tina Khidasheli met strikers on October 19. She met those workers of the Mine after Pataridze who started strike in the mine tunnel on October 17. They shared the requests of other miners after responsible persons did not respond to their protest. Besides that, unless their requests are satisfied, the miners do not exclude possibility that they will start hunger-strike in the 2 kilometers deep miner tunnel.

Later, Tina Khidasheli conversed with the director general of Georgian Manganese Vladimer Lozinski. Their two-hour-long conversation finished almost without any results. The only achievement of the negotiations with the director general was promise to increase miners’ salaries at 25% at the expense of their 13th salary.

“Of course, we are not satisfied with this proposal of the Georgian Manganese’s administration and we will struggle for the rights of miners and satisfaction of their requests. However, I think this achievement will be kind of relief for miners. Of course, there are some other problems too which must be resolved either and we will assist each miner in resolving these problems,” Tina Khidasheli said after the meeting.

Miners refuse to continue working until all their requests are satisfied; they also request resignation of the director general.

“I have been working in this mine for 20 years; I keep my family with this salary. You can see in what conditions we are working; sometimes we do not even have drinking water. In short, nobody cares about us,” the workers on strike said.

Member of the initiative group Merab Iakobidze said miners requested to involve investors in negotiations; otherwise they will start hunger-strike. It is noteworthy that some of them have already started hunger-strike.

Chairman of the Imereti regional organization of the Georgian Independent Trade Unions Murman Arjevanidze and students’ organization Laboratory 1918 declared their solidarity with the miners on strike.

On October 23, chairman of the Georgian United Trade Union Irakli Petriashvili arrived in Chiatura and met miners. He suggested them to start negotiations with the administration of the Georgian Manganese but miners did not agree. They said they had tried to reach some agreements with the administration several times but in vain.

“The working conditions of miners are unbearable and administration must improve it. People have been working in similar conditions for many years but Georgian Manganese was lobbied by the government and did not do anything to eradicate problems,” said Petriashvili. He also spoke about Trade Union of the Georgian Manganese and said it is fake union and blamed its leader Kako Gurjidze in the violence against miners. In parallel to his activities in the Trade Union, Gurjidze is director of the company.

It is noteworthy that on October 17, when miners were on strike, the administration employees of the Georgian Manganese were having a feast in the garden in Iashvili Street, Chiatura. The company director Akaki Gurjidze was there too. This fact particularly irritated the miners on strike.

According to last information, miners have not stopped strike and they request the company management to satisfy all their requests.

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