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Saakashvili needs the riot of railwaymen?2012-10-30 17:23
Political changes in Georgia have affected the whole of society. Those who work in the real economy have started speaking about their rights. First, the miners went on strike, and now the flames of discontent can be spread to the railway. Its employees are threatening to go on strike for a week.
"If the representatives of the railway administration do not immediately and unconditionally fulfill our demands concerning salary increases, we declare a strike", told us Ilya Lezhava, one of the organizers. The demands of the initiative group are shared and supported by the staff of Samtredia, Kutaisi and Ozurgeti nodal lines.
According to the trade union chairman Irakli Petriashvili, there are some suggestions from the management of the railway, though they do not meet the demands of the railwaymen.
October 24, about 100 employees of the sorting depot went on strike for two hours. Khashuri, Tbilisi and Samtredskiy depots were completely stopped. Since then, workers and management are negotiating for nearly a week, with the participation of trade unions. But the railroad workers do not trust the Georgian trade unions, so they have chosen as a representative a member of the party "Free Georgia" Gia Kruashvili.
Our reporter has managed to talk with the workers. A locksmith Aleko Chuluhidze, slightly cleaning hands, smeared with engine oil, has described the aspirations of working people.
"Locksmiths are asking salary increment. Our salary had amounted 700 GEL, until it was reduced last year. We also demand improvement of our labor conditions. We work 9-10 hours a day", the locksmith says.
Mamuka Peradze, a locksmith: "Without us, the depot will be incapable to launch the locomotive; and as for our wages, we have the lowest - they always cut it in the sign of "gratitude".
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is clearly unhappy with the problems on the railway. "I do not think that the railroad workers should strike. I do not rule out that there may be sabotage. I call on them once again to be careful about the transition period and to refrain from radical actions, as well as to take responsibility for the obligations, since 85% of cargo at the Georgian Railways - this is international cargo. And we need to continue nonstop service of cargo owners".
At the same time, the former head of the Georgian Railways Irakli Ezugbaya has written a letter of resignation from his post and left Georgia.