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“Nobody Has Right to Treat Us Like Slaves,” Workers Arrested Because of Strike

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

Protest demonstration of the workers of Kutaisi Metallurgic Factory ended with the detention of 7 people last week. The strikers protested against the poor conditions in the enterprise and against salary arrears; they refused to enter the factory and to continue working.

“What a terrible country we have? Where else do similar things happen? Shall a worker be arrested because he requests his salary?! And besides that, can he be arrested at night? Are we criminals? Why do they break into our houses and take us to the police station under force? What have we done wrong? We simply protested against poor working conditions and requested our salaries. Are we slaves to work without salaries in poor conditions?!” said the worker of the Metallurgic Factory who escaped the handcuffs at the night of June 11.

Officially, the detainees are charged for their resistance to the policemen. On June 12, Kutaisi City Court sentenced them to 20-day-imprisonment. They even spoke about fines. Part of the strikers, who are still waiting for interrogation, says that they have not done anything wrong; the factory administration threatened them with the police.

“Do not write my name in the article and I will tell you that the detainees were told – Let’s make a deal; you will confess that you resisted the police and in twenty days you will be free. They arrested only those people who gave interviews to the TV-Companies on June 11. By similar activities they warned the others to keep silence and to continue working like slaves without salaries and holidays. Believe me neither our factory nor any other enterprise will be as harmed by two-day delay as we were injured during our working. But, we all have to keep our families and endured everything for salaries,” said a worker.

The head of the factory spoke about the liability of the strikers in the morning of June 11. Tariel Shakarashvili told journalists that the factory was harmed by the strike and as soon as the amount of the loss is estimated, they would charge the strikers for it.

“We request our salaries. The salaries have been reduced in 2010 significantly; furthermore, we get salaries after a delay. We have not received our salaries for the previous months. When we inquired about this problem, they said it was caused by the high salaries of the last year. They say the high salaries were a mistake and caused the factory a loss. Now they are correcting their mistakes. Besides that, we have to work in unbearable conditions. We do not have water; so we cannot even wash up,” said the strikers.

The workers of the Indian-Georgian factory, which was opened about one and half year ago in Kutaisi, started complaining about unbearable working conditions immediately after it was opened. However, the workers did not refuse to work because of high salaries. Later, the administration reduced the salaries and denied the workers their vacations.

The situation resulted in a protest rally which ended in the detention of strikers. The factory administration stated that workers do not have reason to strike and their claiming that working conditions are poor in the factory is false.

“After the detention of our colleagues, they tell us to return to the factory and continue our working. However, we are not going to do that before our colleagues are released. Let them arrest all of us. Will they arrest everybody?! Besides that nobody has right to treat us like slaves,” said the strikers. They do not exclude the possibility to start larger and stronger demonstrations.

The administration of the Kutaisi Metallurgic Factory did not comment on the situation.
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Name: შეგნებულად არ ვწერ
2011-04-07 19:11
სამწუხაროდ ეს ყველაფერი მწარე სიმართლეა.
მეც ერთ-ერთი მომსწრე ვარ ამ ყველაფრისა.
რეალურად არასოდეს დაინტერესებულა სახელმწიფო რა ხდება იქ.

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