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Workers' Memorial Day: 473 Dead in 10 Years in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, April 30
April 28 is an International Workers Memorial Day, dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy.

The members of Georgian Trade Union (GTU) held a silent protest rally at the old parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue saying since 2007, 473 have people died and 805 have been seriously injured at workplaces in Georgia.

“In 2018, 18 people died and 12 people were seriously injured. The highest rate of lethal cases come to construction and mining operation jobs,” the statement of the trade union reads.

The protesters stressed that average 5.7 people out of 100,000 die at workplacrs. As for the European Union countries, the GTU claims, the average number is 1.8 per 100,000 employed people.

“In Georgia, the deaths at the workplaces are 3.1 times higher than in the EU countries,” the statement added.

The workers say that on March 7, a law on Labor Safety entered into force, which was elaborated after three-side format discussions, including social partners.

The GTU assures the law is not effective and will not be able to fully ensure labor safety and proper working conditions in Georgia.

The union also stresses that the law only applies to hazardous and high-risk jobs, adding it should cover all kinds of jobs, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Furthermore, the workers disapprove the article of the law, according to which the Inspection Department has right to inspect the workplaces without warning only two times a year, in other cases they need the court order.

“This law is not in line with the International Labor Organization Conventions…The inspectors should be entitled to monitor workplaces any time they want,” the statement reads.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili has also released a statement regarding April 28, saying the issue of safety at work is acute in Georgia.

“One of the important constitutional obligations of our state is to ensure safety at work. Therefore, first and foremost, relevant state agencies must co-ordinate and strengthen all standards and mechanisms to prevent tragedies and create appropriate guarantees for the employed," the President said.