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Strike in Poti creates problems for Armenia

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 21
Workers of the forwarding company Barvil Georgia have recently gone on strike in Poti port. They demand an increase of salaries, an improvement in working conditions and security measures. The strike began after the negotiation attempts between the administration and the workers failed. In autumn 2012 the workers were already on strike. It lasted from November 1-10. Only after the interference of the newly elected Prime Minister Bidizna Ivanishyvili was it possible to solve the problem. The company promised to increase salaries for the workers by 20%. However, it looks like the conditions have not yet been met. This ten-day strike caused some problems to the importation of products to Armenia– in particular food and oil products. Armenian businessmen tried to reorient the cargo from Poti to Batumi but the technical facilities of Batumi's port are poorer compared to Poti's infrastructure. Thus the problem for Armenia remains. It must be mentioned that 70% of imported products to Armenia appear to pass through Georgian ports or checkpoints. So if the Poti workers’ strike continues for more than a week it would definitely cause problems to Armenia. This issue should have been touched upon during the PM’s visit to Armenia. The PM’s statement concerning the possible reopening of the Abkhazian segment of the Georgian railways connecting Russia with Georgia and further to Armenia by land via Abkhazia becomes interesting in this regard.