EU-Sponsored Labor Standards Conference in Tbilisi

On September 19-20, the European Union held a seminar at the Biltmore Hotel in Tbilisi on the topic of labor standards and working conditions in the country. The purpose of the event was to share opinions on legislation and the best labor practices of international organizations.

The seminar discussed labor standards in relation to the economic association and free trade area opened by the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia, which was signed in June 2014. It also facilitated knowledge exchanges on concrete examples of enforcement practices in the EU and other countries, including by European companies that work internationally.

The seminar brought together representatives of key Georgian stakeholders in the subject area, including members of the Parliament of Georgia, relevant social partners such as the Georgian Trade Union Confederation and the Georgian Employers’ Association, civil society organizations, subject experts, labor practitioners, and social partners from EU Member States, other countries closely associated with the EU, and the International Labor Office (the permanent secretariat of the International Labor Organization). Part of the convention focused on business, facilitating the exchange of EU labor best practices and legislation between European companies and Georgian businesses.

The EU organized the seminar in an effort to promote fair and equitable, European-style labor standards in Georgia. The convention emphasized that improving labor standards, working conditions, and labor market institutions are an asset for increasing productivity, enhancing skills, and enhancing the added value in the global value chain. Sustainable development goals are also better on a platform of strong, well-enforced labor standards.

The Director for Labor Mobility at the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission, Jordi Curell, and the Minister of IDPs of the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Davit Sergeenko, discussed how to continue dialogue and cooperation around these issues between Georgian and European entities in both the public and private sectors.

Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi Ilia Eloshvili also attended the seminar. He spoke to attendees about the role of Tbilisi City Hall and local municipalities in relation to labor safety. City Hall recently initiated legislation that put into place new labor protection regulations, and Eloshvili noted that the new regulations have significantly reduced the number of violations in the construction industry.

The regulations increase fines for violating construction labor standards from 3000 GEL to 30,000 GEL. Additionally, companies previously received a warning for violations of safety standards, and now they are immediately fined. “As statistics show, the stricter approach has reduced the amount of violations in terms of construction safety. As a result of tightening regulations, the number of accidents at construction sites has been significantly reduced. Protection of labor safety requires a complex approach from both the authorities and local municipalities. We welcome the fact that the Tbilisi City Hall is involved in this important process, because the right to a safe working environment one of the highest categories of human rights,” said Eloshvili.

By Samantha Guthrie

Image source: Tbilisi City Hall


20 September 2018 18:19