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Dismissed Rustavi Azot employers demand reinstatement

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, February 6
A total of 350 dismissed workers from the Rustavi Azot plant, which manufactures nitrogen fertilizers, continue their protest rallies and demands for reinstatement.

The protest rallies have been underway for over ten days, however the factory’s new ownership, which bought the enterprise in September 2016, refuses to reinstate the former employees.

“Since January 2017, Rustavi Azot could not ensure the operation of the plant, which caused the suspension of the enterprise. The new owner took on the responsibility to pay the salaries of the majority of employees and in case the plant becomes fully operational, the dismissed personnel will be reinstated,” the statement of Rustavi Azot reads.

Moreover, the leadership of the enterprise expressed readiness to pay two months salaries to the dismissed 350 workers and in addition, these people will receive 500-Gel assistance for three months.

The protesters refuse to take compensation and claim they will not stop their rallies until they get their jobs back.

On Saturday they held a large protest rally at the enterprise, asking the leadership for meeting. The metallurgy, mining, and chemical industry workers, Trade Union members, representatives of student movements and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) joined the protesters.

“We demand only our old jobs. We should have the opportunity to work, feed our families and pay our bank credits,” one of the workers said.

Georgia’s Ministry of Labor Health and Social Affairs released a statement regarding the issue, saying they are actively involved in the process in order to ensure a peaceful resolution of the dialogue between the sides.

“Rustavi Azot is a significant manufacturing facility, with over 2,000 workers. In case the plant does not start operating, this puts at risk not only the company employees, but the local market as well,” the Health Ministry said, and calls on the other sides involved in the dispute not to interfere in the process hoping the successful completion of the social dialogue.