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Tbilisi Mayor Claims Planned Strike Won’t Stop Metro

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 3
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze says that the announced protest strike of Tbilisi metro employees on May 3 will not paralyze the underground.

Mayor made the statement at the capital’s governmental meeting when responding to the planned strike announced by the alternative trade union Unity 2013.

Unity 2013, which unites around 250 people, request increased salaries, saying their existing remuneration is inconsistent with environmental conditions, working cycle or the responsibilities they have to face on a daily basis. They said if their salaries would not be increased they would go on strike on May 3.

Kaladze called on the metro employees to stop their ultimatum, adding the metro will not stop functioning.

"Many meetings were held in the City Hall, where we explained them the reality and economic situation in the municipality. We explained them that it was impossible to satisfy their demand”, he said.

The mayor stated that the City Halls aims at improving working and financial conditions of all people living and employed in Tbilisi.

“I am well-aware of the work of these people, but the attitude, the approaches we've heard over the last days from them, are totally unacceptable,” Kaladze said.

He also added that the decision whether metro will work or be stopped is not up to the people employed there.

“Such decisions are made by me and the government of the capital. I want to make clear that Metro will work on May 3, as well as every day, "Kaladze said.

Moreover, Tbilisi City Court has postponed the demand of the strike of the metro workers until June 3.

The court stated that functioning of metro is very important for the capital, adding its suspension will paralyze traffic in the city.

Rati Kapanadze, the Head of the Unity 2013 stated the workers will hold a meeting and discuss whether they will obey the court decision or not.

Unity 2013 started a legal dispute at court in March 2016 asking for improved labor and safety conditions and increased salaries but they failed to win the case.

Earlier last month, metro workers addressed the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, demanding the appointment of a mediator, which resulted in a mediation process.

Several days ago Unity 2013 held a meeting at the Mayor’s Office and with their employer company; however, they were refused a raise.